DuckDuckGo isn’t new in terms of just launching. It launched a few years ago by Gabriel Weinberg and has grown into a viable search alternative to Google and Bing.
Before Google came along, the Web had several search solutions, and Internet users had our favorites, but we tended to try them all to find the best result. The Google approach to search was decidedly better.
After Google, most of the competition in the search space faded away. Microsoft created Bing as an alternative to Google, but its results don’t seem all that different than Google’s.
Weinberg created DuckDuckGo because he believes there is a massive conflict between Google’s business model and the privacy of people who use it. Google collects data based on our searches and uses that data to tailor our search results (and to deliver relevant ads). You’ve seen it happen. You search for a product, visit a website, and then everywhere you go on the Web, you start seeing ads for that product.
The goal of DuckDuckGo is to provide the best search experience possible, and Weinberg believes the best way to do that is to not put users in a “filter bubble.” Just because you search for a thing, Weinberg doesn’t think that search should define you either in terms of other searches or advertisement.
On Google and Bing, your search results will be different from someone who disagrees with you.
If you’re more conservative, you’re more likely to get links to news storys from Fox News on Google. If you’re more liberal, you’re more likely to get news storys from MSNBC. For some searchers, that’s a great thing. Other searchers would rather get an accurate answer to a search query without bias, and that’s what DuckDuckGo works to deliver.
One of the neatest features is a search tool DuckDuckGo calls a “!bang.”
Users type in what they want to find, add a space, an exclamation point, and then a website name like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, or YouTube, and DuckDuckGo will search that site for you. For example, if you type in “Jennifer Lawrence !yt” you get all the Jennifer Lawrence videos on YouTube.
The search engine doesn’t do some important things that Google and Bing do like image search, but DuckDuckGo is working with open source developers through DuckDuckHack to add things that matter to its users.
One of Weinberg’s primary competitive advantages against Google and Bing is that he’s not trying to become a billionaire. He’s not trying to get people who are happy to use Google to stop using Google. He wants to provide an option for anyone who isn’t happy with with Google and Bing, and the rapid growth of DuckDuckGo suggests that he has.
You can read an interview with Weinberg at Neowin.