DuckDuckGo - Just for Privacy?


Ever since Google dominated the search engine market share (they even own the 2nd largest search engine, YouTube), it seems like it's the obvious choice. However, you've probably heard of DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused search engine. While yes, it does have many privacy-respecting features, I personally believe that it actually has some benefits over Google.


As a fan of making everything look somewhat uniform, I love how I can adjust how DuckDuckGo looks. I can change the background color, font, colors of the text, and much more. Google's theme is honestly not bad, but I never liked its dark mode, and it isn't nearly as customizable as DDG.

Bang Shortcuts

Simply by typing ![shortcut], I can directly search from a specified website. For example,

Wikipedia: !w

Google: !g

Reddit: !reddit

Stack Overflow: !stackoverflow


This feature is not exclusive to DDG; you can do this in pretty much every browser, but you would need to manually add them.


Having switched to the app on Android, I find it to be faster than Chrome, and it has this nice feature that it doesn't save your search history. No more incognito searches, since it's always in incognito mode. Any data stored can easily be wiped with the press of a button as well. It's super clean and minimal.

But Google gives better and more relevant search results!

This is the one and only reason why Google is arguably the best search engine. The answer you're looking for will almost always be there. Google will actively censor and block search suggestions and results, which has its pros and cons. Google will also use the data that it's been collecting on you through Maps, Gmail, YouTube, the Play Store, and your search history to deliver the most relevant search result to you. To be honest, sometimes Google knowing exactly what I mean when I search for something is very useful, so I can simply use the !g shortcut to search through Google for that and go back to using DDG for other searches.

For programming syntax, DuckDuckGo is significantly better, though. In the search results, you will often see code snippets from Stack Overflow, which is really helpful.


Google is the least privacy-respecting search engine. It is crazy how much Google knows about you, and even if you turn on all of Google's privacy "respecting" features, it will continue to track your data in other ways. DuckDuckGo does a lot better in trying to anonymize me.

More Customization and Privacy?

searX is an even more private search engine that you should look into. Instead of having dedicated servers, you can host your own search engine server and aggregate search results from multiple search engines. Eventually, I will try to make my own search engine with searX, but I still have a ways to go before I dip my toes in that.

Update 2023:

I stopped using DuckDuckGo except on my phone. The search results are not nearly as good as when I first started using it, and I ended up going back to Google since it just works. Using aggregators like searX was cool, but I relied on other people's instances, and it was always slower than Google. These days, I use ChatGPT, Google, and DuckDuckGo to search. Also, I didn't know that Microsoft tracking isn't blocked on DuckDuckGo's mobile app since DuckDuckGo uses Bing's results.

Update 2024:

This article is no longer relevant now that search engines suck. Google sucks. DuckDuckGo sucks. Everything sucks. :(