DuckDuckGo: Crazy Name, Growing Crazy-Fast

The privacy lovers at DuckDuckGo Inc. are pleased to say the business is growing fast. Plus, Apple has graciously allowed iPhone users to set DDG’s browser as the default on iOS 14.

DDG is better known for its search engine, which avoids the tenacious tracking tentacles of Google, Facebook and their ilk. But sometimes its search results seem a little … rubbery.

If you worry that you are the product, give the OddlyNamedCompany’s stuff a try. In today’s SB Blogwatch, we fancy a nice bath.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Fireflies, but Ashley Hess.


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What’s the craic? Mayank Parmar reports—“Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo is growing fast”:

 The privacy-focused search engine announced that August 2020 ended in over 2 billion total searches via its search platform. … DuckDuckGo has gained a great deal of traction in recent months as more and more users have begun to value their privacy.

DuckDuckGo saw over … 4 million app/extension installations, and the company also said that they have over 65 million active users. … Even though DuckDuckGo is growing rapidly, it still controls less than 2 percent of all search volume in the United States.

DuckDuckGo [uses] Bing, community-developed sites such as Wikipedia, and … its own crawler to generate its index of search results. … If you are serious about privacy, you can give DuckDuckGo a try [or] by installing its extensions and apps.

Shame you can’t use it as your default iPhone browser. But Wait! Ben Lovejoy brings joyous news—“You can now change your default iOS browser”:

 If you’ve updated to iOS 14, you can now change your default iOS browser to either Firefox or DuckDuckGo if you wish. Both browsers have been approved by Apple to take advantage of the new option to change your default web browser.

DuckDuckGo … claims that it offers better protection against tracking than Safari. [And] The company says DuckDuckGo also proactively redirects you to https versions of pages if you use legacy http links.

To change your default browser from Safari:

  • Go to the App Store to download the browser you want to use
  • Open the Settings app
  • Scroll down to the browser
  • Tap the browser name
  • Tap Default Browser App
  • Tap the browser you want to use.

Progress for iThing users, then. Gabriel Weinberg and chums are proud—“Simple Everyday Privacy with DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser”:

 There’s big news today for iPhone and iPad users tired of the constant tracking, ad targeting and manipulation when using the Internet: iOS 14 now allows you to set … DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser [as the] default browser. … It blocks companies like Google, Facebook, and many others you’ve never even heard of from tracking you across the web.

Because we block so many trackers, our apps and extensions allow you to browse faster (and uses less data) because, believe it or not, about half of web page code nowadays is actually tracking code! … Don’t worry, we also support tabs, bookmarks, favorites, dark mode, etc.

And that’s the way privacy should be – simple, on by default, and available to all.

Bring on the idealogs. Razvan Oprea-Balais is on a mission—“The Best Privacy Oriented Search Engine Which You’ve Probably Never Tried”:

 The most logical and secure way to further protect your data is to delete your Facebook, Google, Microsoft accounts and other affiliated accounts on platforms owned by these companies and never use these again. … There are plenty of other options.

The second best way to protect your privacy: Install and use DuckDuckGo.

By using DuckDuckGo, your personal information will not be stored, you will not be followed around with ads, and you will not be tracked. Ever.

Why should you use DuckDuckGo?

  1. Google tracks you. DuckDuckGo doesn’t. …
  2. DuckDuckGo offers unbiased results. …
  3. On Google, the default privacy policies are “collect it all.”

Sounds wonderful. But readarticle has a different perspective:

 I absolutely cannot stand the quality of DuckDuckGo results. [I have] a conditioned lack of faith in the ability of DDG to surface anything useful. The name is childish and doesn’t inspire confidence either.

People I encounter that argue the results are “not that bad” are 9/10 times ideological purists, or otherwise misguided. … DDG as a search engine is utter **** and I’ve little patience left to hear otherwise, but as a way of turning iOS Safari into a sort of meta search engine it’s invaluable and I genuinely cannot stop recommending it to other “power users”.

Gram-gram is sticking with Google though.

But arcade gets all wistful for The Good Old Days:

 I remember when I started using Google, back in ’98. It was amazingly much better than the rest. It kept being amazing until around 2009, where a change was introduced that no longer required all the words you searched for. Then synonyms were added. Then attempts to figure out what you searched for. It got rather useless.

I tend to go more and more to duckduckgo, bing and other search engines, as Google quite simply keeps returning irrelevant results.

And phillytim loves it:

 Been using DDG since 2014, and love it. Search results are good, and there are Bangs! that help you easily search outside of DDG. The DDG privacy essentials extension gives you webpage rankings, stops many trackers, and forces connection to any HTTPS encrypted versions of websites. You can’t go wrong here.

O RLY? sphealey ain’t so touchy-feely: [You’re fired—Ed.]

 How do we know DuckDuckGo keeps search data private? They say they do. Have they ever been audited by a trustworthy 3rd party?

How can DDG up their game? dpcan has an immodest proposal:

 Just. Change. Your. Name. Already. … I’d love to hear a thought-out answer as to why such a silly name is supposed to be taken seriously.

For example, I tried to get my parents to try DuckDuckGo and they giggled, stumbled with the name, and then said they’d stick with Google. … It sounds like a profanity. It feels angry or sinister.

I think it’s a very real problem DDG has and they should address it so we can move from G to DDG.

Meanwhile, in Soviet Russia, SirKveldulv Google YOU:

 Yandex is also very good.

And Finally:

Fireflies, but it’s a pleasant acoustic cover

Previously in And Finally


You have been reading SB Blogwatch by Richi Jennings. Richi curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites … so you don’t have to. Hate mail may be directed to @RiCHi or sbbw@richi.uk. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE. 30.

Image sauce: Joshua Coleman (via Unsplash)

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Richi Jennings

Richi is a foolish independent industry analyst, editor, writer, and fan of the Oxford comma. He’s previously written or edited for Computerworld, Petri, Microsoft, HP, Cyren, Webroot, Micro Focus, Osterman Research, Ferris Research, NetApp on Forbes and CIO.com. His work has won awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors, ABM/Jesse H. Neal, and B2B Magazine.

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