About six weeks ago, I decided to change my default search engine. Call it a mid life crisis, or maybe just a sign of boredom, but I felt the time was right to start making changes to my “on-line life”. When you analyse it, it’s surprising what factors come to the fore when consciously making a choice of search engine
Like a vast majority of vast majority of the planet , Google has been my predominant search engine for the better part of the last 10 years. I can’t recall what factors actually prompted me to switch to Google, maybe it was just Social Pressure or just a subliminal stimuli.
Social pressure consists of the comments, criticisms, attitudes and emotions of people directed against other people who do or say things that those employing the pressure do not approve of. It is a method of changing and controlling the behavior of other people, both on the “micro” level (i.e. among acquaintances, friends and family), and also on the “macro” level (as a technique of social engineering and control).
Before being a “Googler”, Yahoo was my primary source of all thing “net” related. When I first decided on the “switch”, I thought I would go back and give Yahoo another go.
Back to Yahoo!
I’d be the first to admit, my initial decision was purely based on the fact that Merissa Meyer is hot, and who wouldn’t want to get in her good books, even if it was just for using a search engine she’s the gaffer of? However, after trying it out for a couple of days, I came to the realization that the change I made didn’t feel like a change, in a way it felt like going back in time. I wanted something a little different, besides Yahoo no longer has it’s own search engine due to the fact it has effectively merged its search with Bing.
What is Bing?
Next on the list came Bing, and all I have to say is what is Bing?. I tried Bing out for just about 5 minutes. I can’t tell you what put me off it exactly, but I have to say to took a pretty instant disliking to it. Maybe it was the fact that there were just too many adverts in the search results, that weren’t filtered by AdBlock plus. Whatever it was, Bing just didn’t do it for me.
Another huge draw back with Bing, is that it is a well known fact within the black hat SEO community, is that its indexing algorithm is exploited easily. Therefore it is much more likely that SEO Experts are able to use heavy handed onpage SEO techniques like body text keyword repetition and spammy meta tagging to manipulate results.
Duck Duck Go
It was an evening mucking about on the Raspberry Pi, that I noticed that the default search engine on the Epiphany browser on the Pi was Duck Duck Go. I’d never heard of it before, it seemed to be a real minnow in the search engine field. There is something in me that always wants to back the minnow.
I felt that Duck Duck Go had real potential. It had a few things going for it from the outset, it has delightfully stupid name. Every search engine needs a stupid name, and really can you get any more stupid than Duck Duck Go!
After satisfying the key element a search Search Engine needs. it was it’s tag line that really grabbed me
The search engine that doesn’t track you.
I did a little research on found out the search engine doesn’t store your previous searches, it does not and cannot present personalised search results. In theory this frees users from the filter bubble – the fear that, as search results are increasingly personalised, they are less likely to be presented with information that challenges their existing ideas.
It also means that DuckDuckGo is forced to keep its focus purely on search. With no stores or data to tap, it cannot become an advertising behemoth, it has no motivation to start trying to build a social network and it doesn’t get anything out of scanning your emails to create a personal profile.
Like most people on the planet today, I do spend an inordinate amount of my time trying to avoid advertising and marketing. Be it the targeted or even more critical UN-targeted variety.
I’m not really one to concern myself too much about my Privacy Online, after all I would be blogging if I was. However, what I don’t really like is organisations collecting my “personal data” with a view of trying to sell me some stuff I don’t really need or maybe more likely don’t want. I can’t remember the last time I have surfed the internet without having Adblock Plus plugin installed.
So to come across a search engine, which only wanted to do one thing, and be a utility for me to search the internet for things I actually want. Well this was something I needed to use.
The low down
I’ve been using Duck Duck Go, for about 6 weeks now, I have it set as my default search engine in Firefox and have used it exclusively. Overall, I am quite satisfied, there are some features that are just better in Google, but when I compare the both with my tin foil hat on, I think morally prefer Duck Duck Go.
Will it still be my default search engine 10 years from now? I haven’t really got an answer for that, but for now it certainly is. I recommend you at least give it a try, if for nothing else but too make a change to your browsing habits.