September 16

What is Duck Duck Go?

In the modern world, personal information is shared with search engines without a second thought including personal, financial and health issues. Many individuals share personal details regarding their family, friends, feelings and experiences. This type of information should be kept private, but this is not the way information is processed on Google. Google tracks and mines user searches to package everything into a data profile available to advertisers. This is the reason annoying and intrusive banner ads are constantly appearing.

The Power of Search Engines

search queries

Google ad networks are massive and embedded throughout apps and websites numbering in the millions. To earn a profit in web searches, tracking consumers is not necessary. Money is made according to the traffic generated and advertisements served. A good example is a consumer searching for the word “car”. No information is required to show the consumer ads regarding cars. Google has chosen not to follow this simple formula. Instead, the company uses the power of tracking for its ad networks to follow every action consumers perform on the internet including using search history to best serve information they may be seeking.

The belief consumers are protected by using incognito mode is nothing more than a myth. The word incognito is misleading in itself. The only thing consumers are accomplishing while running in incognito mode is a deletion of their local browsing history once their internet session has ended. Incognito mode does not do anything to prevent any website visited from using IP addresses to track the consumer. Google also uses a wide variety of tracking mechanisms including browser fingerprinting. Unfortunately, the majority of Google users are unaware of the fine print.

Consumers who have read the fine print are aware their activity may remain available to any website visited, their internet service provider, schools including colleges and universities and employers. There is a way to ensure searches remain private and unavailable for legal requests, the government and data profiles. The answer is called Duck Duck Go. This search engine, which recently made it’s way into the top 50 search engines, does not perform any tracking at all no matter which browsing mode the consumer is using. All types of searches can be entered on Duck Duck Go without any information shared.

Duck Duck Go Vs. Google

Using Duck Duck Go is like the consumer was never there. Nothing is stored to connect consumers to their searches or search history. This means no information is available that can be traced back to the consumer. The full details are readily available in the Duck Duck Go privacy policy.  This is a very different experience when and if you want to pit Duck Duck go versus Google, this is a key component you must analyze.

Duck Duck Go Search Engine History

The Duck Duck Go search engine history dates back to 2008 when the company was founded. At this time there were only 93 employees. The company was specifically created to challenge Google. Duck Duck Go is located in the United States in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The company has made and adheres to a strict privacy pledge stating no personal data will be shared, stored or collected. Search histories are also not stored or tracked. No personal data is sold or made available for any advertiser with all advertising trackers blocked.

The Duck Duck Go search engine history encompasses a commitment to protecting privacy. Not only does the company offer a search engine, but education, training and tools are also provided to help consumers protect their privacy. The company has experienced a lot of growth since 2008, with approximately 65 million searches conducted every day. This may seem small in comparison to the 3.5 billion daily searches conducted with Google, but Duck Duck Go is still increasing in size and popularity with a tremendous number of positive Duck Duck Go user reviews.

Is Duck Duck Go Free?

The answer to the question of is Duck Duck Go free is yes. In addition, the company has made donations exceeding $800K to organizations with the same goals including The Electronic Frontier Foundation, World Privacy Forum and the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Revenue is generated by Duck Duck Go through ads served through the alliance between Yahoo and Bing and established affiliate relationships with both eBay and Amazon. The company places its focus on providing consumers with the help required to keep online personal information private. The company is offering competition overdue for a long time.

Duck Duck Go Download

Since this is a browser extension, you’ll have to add it to your browser manually.

Duck Duck Go Chrome

If you are using Google Chrome, you can get it from the Chrome store as an extension.  

Since it is a search engine, if you want to set it to your default search engine of choice, so if you are using FireFox, just go to your FireFox browser settings and choose it in the options or preferences settings.

Privacy and Customization

Duck Duck Go has native apps for phones for including Android and iOS. Unlike the complicated and often misleading requirements that must be accepted for many of the other apps currently available, Duck Duck Go has made the installation requirements extremely simple. The only installation requirement is granting the app access to photos, media and files. Nothing else is required. This fact proves the company stands behind their motto of not tracking its users. Consumers using the desktop version will receive reminders of this fact from the search engine.

Desktop users are also reminded that the key concern of the company is the protection of their privacy. The privacy settings for the Duck Duck Go mobile app are flexible, transparent and straightforward. Consumers even have an option for enabling Tor through the installation of a proxy app. In comparison to the accounts and privacy settings offered by Google, Duck Duck Go is ahead of the game. The privacy settings for the mobile apps include clearing or saving recent data, clearing the browser cache, enabling Tor, enabling JavaScript, clearing cookies and automatic crash reports.

duck duck go features
Safe Search allows you to choose the level of images that are accessible when you (or your family) performs a search.

The account and privacy settings available with Google are much more limited including accessing a Google account, turning on Safe Search, high contrast text can be turned on for accessibility, Google activity controls, nicknames and searching on The Duck Duck Go desktop version also offers a lot of privacy options including saving settings to the cloud anonymously and preventing searches from being shared with any website the consumer clicks on. This is an excellent option for any consumer with a focus on privacy.

There is a wide range of choices for customization on Duck Duck Go including making modifications to different areas of the appearance and changing the theme. Consumers can have a lot of fun playing around with all of the different options. There is also an option to turn off ads. Help is offered by the company with offers for options to spread the word. The bottom line is consumers can choose their options on Duck Duck Go, where Google customizes the user experience by gathering enormous amounts of data in an attempt to determine the desires of the users.

Social Media

Consumers using Duck Duck Go have the ability to see people’s social media profiles without the necessity of leaving the search engine. This means when a search is conducted for John Doe, all of the profile information is available on the same page. When using Gravatar or Google+ to find a Twitter bio, the handle must be searched for first. Google+ searches require the user to type G+ followed by the user’s name. For Gravatar, the user types Gravitar followed by the username being searched. Searching for other sites is also different from Duck Duck Go.

The site can be used with Google by searching for results for a specific site. To see the results, the user must open the link provided. Searches with Duck Duck Go can be conducted by using the search functions of the company site. A good example is a search conducted for a user’s details on LinkedIn. As opposed to opening the site, the user simply enters query ! for Linkedin, then the name of the person to view the search results page for LinkedIn. This can be accomplished using an extremely wide range of websites. A complete list is available simply by entering the information in the Duck Duck Go search bar.

Searching the App Store for Duck Duck Go App

All popular apps can be searched for using Duck Duck Go. The results are displayed in a carousel containing apps with similar names. The more generic the name of the app, the more results the user will see. The consumer then clicks on the card of their choice in the carousel to reveal the cost of the app, links to the store and a description. This feature works well for the apps most frequently searched by consumers. A neat carousel is displayed with the available alternative apps.

If the consumer is interested in an alternative to Microsoft Office, an alternative for Word can be entered. The alternatives for Microsoft office are then displayed. Searches can also be conducted for Web services including the search engines currently available such as Duck Duck Go.

The StopWatch

A quick timer can be created on both Duck Duck Go and Google by searching for a timer. The difference is Duck Duck Go offers a stopwatch as well. To use it, the consumer simply conducts a search for a stopwatch.

Password Generation

A lot of people have difficulties thinking of a strong enough password. Entering Password 20 for a Duck Duck Go search shows a list of strong passwords with 20 characters. The number of characters can be changed by replacing the number. Users can choose any number including five, 10 or 14. If the consumer has difficulty remembering a random password, Duck Duck Go can generate passwords in the XKCD-style. This type of password consists of four common words.

These types of passwords are not only easy to remember but extremely difficult to crack. The XKCD webcomic originally suggested this type of password. To find them, the consumer enters a random passphrase in the Duck Duck Go search bar.

Shortening and Expanding Links

Consumers can determine which websites are found at the conclusion of shortened links by opening Duck Duck Go, then searching for expand HTTP: followed by the address of the website. Long URLs can be shortened just by entering the word shorten.

Checking the Character Numbers for Search Queries and Changing Case

Sentences can be changed to uppercase, lowercase or title case by adding one of these terms before entering a sentence, then keying in the information using Duck Duck Go. A good example is entering uppercase abcd gadgets that will lead to ABCD GADGETS. The number of characters is a unique Duck Duck Go feature. Adding the word chars after or before a query will reveal the character numbers for search queries.

Duck Duck Go User Reviews

The majority of Duck Duck Go user reviews are good. Most of the users commend the company for making privacy on the web available. Consumers have posted online reviews regarding the ease of use, available features, unbiased results, elimination of trackers, reduction of ads and surprise when discovering Duck Duck Go is free. According to the reviews, the service offered by the company is quickly growing in popularity.

Determining When a Website is Down

When a website will not open, the consumer can discover if this is a widespread issue or a problem with their computer. Specific websites can be checked by entering the keyword phrase Is (name of the website) down for me.

The Calendar

Consumers can find the current time and date on both Duck Duck Go and Google. Duck Duck Go goes farther with instant answers provided by a supporting calendar. Highlighting the current date and searching calendar will show if any instant answers are available. Consumers can also see calendars for any year and month such as August of 1832.

Fun with Rhymes

Consumers can use Duck Duck Go to find rhyming words. A good example is entering the phrase rhymes with fall. An instant answer is provided with all words rhyming with fall such as tall or call.

Loan Calculator

Another popular feature of Duck Duck Go is the loan calculator. This feature is useful to determine the amount of the monthly payments or to see the total amount of interest. The search query is more difficult to remember despite its usefulness. The phrase is Amount Interest Percent Duration. Consumers enter the dollar amount of the loan, the interest rate, the percentage down and the length of the term to receive an answer. A good example is 75,00,000 at 5.0 percent with 20 percent down for 30 years. Understanding total interest and monthly payments help consumers make a more informed decision.

Adding Other Search Engines

Some consumers may enjoy using instant answers but remain unwilling to leave a favorite search engine. This is the reason a downloadable extension is available from Duck Duck Go for Firefox, Safari and Chrome. Every time a search is conducted, the instant answers from Duck Duck Go will be displayed on the top with search results from the other search engines below.

Features for Developers

Software developers will find numerous search results very useful. This information will not be as important for the typical consumer. Duck Duck Go offers developers all of the following.

• URL encoding for machine-readable text
• Displaying a special character list including the HTML values
• Generation of lorem ipsum text
• Colors can be displayed based on hexadecimal values
• HTML values can be displayed for all special characters
• Conversion of binary to decimal

Blocking Google Trackers

Google is tracking consumers using a lot more than search engines. Google tracks consumers using every service run by the company including YouTube, Chrome, Gmaps, Gmail and Android. Privacy alternatives are recommended for these services including Duck Duck Do. This service enables users to live year after year without Google. What most users are not aware of is Google trackers are hiding in 75 percent of all websites in the top one million. To understand the enormity of this percentage, consider Facebook is second with 25 percent.

The chances are good that any random website on the internet is hiding a Google tracker. Online advertising is dominated by Google. This represents more than 74 percent of the growth achieved by Google. Unfortunately, the company has established amazing growth by using hidden trackers. Most sites have installed Google Analytics. This enables Google to perform hidden tracking. Not only are the owners of these websites informed who has visited their websites, but all of this information is sent right back to Google.

The same holds true for the advertisements themselves. Three of the biggest non-search advertising networks are currently run by Google. DoubleClick, Admob and Adsense have already been installed on millions of apps and websites. Google is the power behind all three of them. A lot of consumers are nervous due to a large number of ads following them wherever they go online. The majority of these ads can be traced back to ad networks run by Google. This enables advertisers to target consumers by using their location history, browsing history, search history and personal information.

Most consumers remain unaware the information collected is used by advertisers including airlines and retailers to charge a variety of prices determined through the personal details obtained. In addition to being extremely annoying, these ads are created to manipulate consumers by targeting them to increase the number of purchases made. These ads are a direct representation of the profits Google is making by using personal and private information. Duck Duck Go has expanded past its search capabilities to provide consumers with protection.

No matter where consumers go on the web, Duck Duck Go offers protection. The mobile app and browser extension were designed for all major devices and browsers to block Google and Facebook trackers in addition to numerous trackers used by other data brokers. Duck Duck Go provides a variety of protection including the use of smarter encryption.

Receiving Unbiased Results

When a consumer conducts a search, the expectation is unbiased results. Unfortunately, this is not what happens with Google. The results provided by Google are tailored to offer what the company believes the consumers will most likely click on. The basis is the data profile containing information obtained from years and years of tracking. Despite initial appearances, this is not a good thing. When a consumer defines personalization for a search, they are describing localization such as local restaurants and weather. Tracking is not necessary to provide this information.

Duck Duck Go provides this information without tracking or personal data. This is possible because every search request has data automatically embedded by the computer for the approximate location. This information enables Duck Duck Go to offer local results without the necessity of tracking. Personalized results in addition to localization are also dangerous because the results shown are what the consumer is most likely to click on. All results Google believes the consumer would skip are filtered. This is the reason the process is referred to as the filter bubble.

A good example is a consumer leaning in a specific political direction. The results displayed will compass what the consumer agrees with as opposed to showing the opposing views. The lack of variety enforces specific viewpoints to further alienate the members of society. The filter bubble is unrealistic for search results because consumers believe everyone is shown the same information. Even when the consumer is simultaneously conducting the same searches on Google and in incognito mode, the results are extremely tailored.

When the exact same search is conducted by three different consumers, the variation of results for each consumer is extremely different. Duck Duck Go has made a commitment to not place any user within the filter bubble. Unless the user decides to opt-in, the company does not force a local country index on any user.

Bangs are Included

Duck Duck Go has a feature called bangs that is built-in. This allows consumers to directly search for other sites. The consumer can even skip Duck Duck Go if desired. A good example is a user interested in a Wikipedia article about Switzerland. Conducting a search for !w Switzerland will take the user directly to the site. The ! informs Duck Duck Go the consumer is using a bang shortcut. The w is simply a Wikipedia abbreviation. The consumer can enter the full name or use one of the numerous shortcuts including !r for Reddit, !a for Amazon and !q for Quora.

This feature will work for thousands of different websites. The majority of sites used by consumers are compatible with this feature. The feature also works well with autocomplete to easily reveal new information. Consumers searching for a specific site on a regular basis gain the ability to go directly to any site including websites for cooking and recipes, sport’s scores or new archeological discoveries. Once Duck Duck Go is set as the default search engine, everything can be entered directly into the address bar for the browser. The need to load the search engine has been completely eliminated. Duck Duck Go routes the consumer to the correct website without the use of any tracking.

The Vision of Duck Duck Go

The vision of Duck Duck Go is to increase the standards for online trust. Everyone with the same vision can support the efforts of the company to help increase its progress. For the last seven years, a substantial portion of the profits has been donated to organizations with the goal of an open internet. Duck Duck Go believes every individual has the right to control their personal information. The company does not believe a collect it all mentality should be the default. Instead, the company has made a compelling and clear case that consumers should receive benefits without the requirement of providing personal information.

Having Fun With the Features

Once Duck Duck Go has been set up, the search results are surprising to many consumers. A good example is conducting a search for a story featured on Facebook regarding the death of a baby dolphin resulting from being taken from the ocean and passed from person to person to take selfies. Duck Duck Go actually confirmed the truth to this story. When a desktop search was conducted for baby dolphin selfies, the carousel showed numerous stories. The headlines told the sad story of the baby dolphin.

Duck Duck Go also showed a variety of similar stories featured in the news on a variety of different sites. The goal of Duck Duck Go is to earn the loyalty of the general public by helping without becoming intrusive. This does not mean the company will show unnervingly accurate data in an attempt to predict what the user wants to see. Instead, Duck Duck Go uses its vast data stores to provide the user with a carousel filled with the most recent news articles regarding the specific topic being searched.

Another great feature offered by Duck Duck Go is called instant answers. The information highlighted is created to provide the consumer with a fast answer to their search located right at the top of the page. This feature is a lot like the autocomplete and snapshot feature available with Bing and the knowledge graph offered by Google. The depth of the coverage received is dependent on the specific topic of the search. Some searches provide only a single page of results, others offer a small bio from Wikipedia, some provide a lot of similar topics and others offer extensive results.

Since Duck Duck Go was created as an open-source project, some of the features including instant answers are provided by the community. When a user discovers a subject not associated with instant answers, they have the option of becoming involved by adding the information themselves. The benefit is the user is offered a practical means of improving the capabilities of the search engine. The result is effective answers for searches conducted in this area in the future. Users can learn how the search engine works within about one week.

Learning how the different features work is a lot of fun with new discoveries initially made frequently. A good example is the ability to continue scrolling vertically as opposed to constantly clicking on the next page to read more information. Not only is this feature effortless, but it helps eliminate the Google stigma for results placed on the second or third page. One of the most popular features is the bangs. Not only does this feature save time but Duck Duck Go receives a commission from Amazon and eBay for all purchases conducted after visiting the site using Duck Duck Go.

The Bottom Line

Duck Duck Go is an excellent option for anyone tired of or frustrated by Google tracking. The vast majority of the general public does not realize how much information Google receives every time they are on the web or for each website visited. Unfortunately, there were no other viable options in the past. This has changed thanks to Duck Duck Go. The search engine has proven it is possible to keep personal information private. The service is easy to install, simple to use, efficient, private and absolutely free for both desktop and mobile users.

The results are unbiased, with every consumer receiving the same information. No matter what site the user decides to visit, Google tracking is effectively eliminated. The number of advertisements is significantly reduced with the creepy ads capable of tracking consumers from one site to the next eliminated. Duck Duck Go offers its users a wide selection of useful and convenient features, with community improvements taking place all the time. Duck Duck Go is the ideal search engine for modern consumers interested in protecting their privacy.


About the author 

Tim Schmidt

Founder, Ice Cold Marketing, SkinPro, South Beach Herbals, & More

Since 2002 Tim has made his living online, from many exotic locations. Skilled in E-com, Amazon FBA, SEO, & Affiliate Marketing, Tim is also a best selling author. is for digital nomads, industry leaders and online business owners.

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