I’ve been using technology from the little startup company duckduckgo.com as my primary search engine for years. As a thriller writer, I search for things like: how much does a million dollars in twenties weigh; or, how much explosive is required to blow a four-foot hole in the side of a concrete-block building. These are not things one would care to have tracked by the big Google machine (or the U.S. government) even before last summer when we all became aware we live in the Land of Snowden.
Today, I was glancing down the articles displayed by the duckduckgo iPhone app. I like this app because it displays a list of stories from sources I control by checking boxes: sort of a random grab at a mini-Internet of my choosing. And an article appeared about none other than the duck itself.
The article describes how the company was founded out of pieces of other research, and that the privacy feature I like was a bit of an afterthought based on user questions. It talks about how duckduckgo concentrates on trying to provide a direct answer to your query, rather than just a list of links that might contain relevant information (though it certainly does that, too). I especially like that it searches Wikipedia and puts the results right at the top by default. (And that I can force a Wikipedia search by typing !w before my query).
If you’re not familiar with duckduckgo, this is a great article to learn about who they are, what they do, and even a little about how. I find the duck’s search results to be highly useful and beautifully organized (in addition to the advertised instant and anonymous). So the next time you need to search, ask yourself: What does the Duck say?
Get your answer right away, and avoid leaving a trail for marketers to use forever.