Ducking Google in Search Engines

Michael Rosenwald profiles DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg for The Washington Post:

A start-up taking on Google in search is much like a raft taking on a cruise ship as a vacation option. But Weinberg is not delusional. With money lining his pockets from selling a start-up for $10 million, Weinberg bet there was a place in the market for a product capitalizing on users’ emerging annoyances with Google — its search results gamed by marketers; its pages cluttered with ads; every query tracked, logged and personalized to the point of creepiness.

He called his little search engine project DuckDuckGo, after the children’s game Duck, Duck, Goose. (Instead of “Just Google it,” think “Just Duck it.”)

“My thesis for the company was, what can we do that other search engines, because they’re big, can’t do easily?” Weinberg said. “Because what’s good for Google business is bad for Google users.”

I spent a few months at the beginning of the year using DuckDuckGo as my main search engine; I eventually went back to Google simply because DuckDuckGo often felt too slow. I switched back to DuckDuckGo again last week and so far I’m really liking it. I’ve also been happy using them as the site search for DF.

(Don’t forget about this trick for turning DuckDuckGo into a replacement for Yahoo search in Safari. I really wish Apple would put its privacy-valuing money where its mouth is and add DuckDuckGo as an officially supported search engine option on Safari — especially on iOS, where you can’t modify the /etc/hosts file.)

Monday, 12 November 2012