Answer by Nipun Sher:

DuckDuckGo is awesome. In a lot of ways it is similar to search engines like Google and Bing, but it has quite a few tricks up its sleeves that set it apart from the competition:

Privacy/Security

This is the biggest USP of DuckDuckGo (henceforth DDG). Unlike other popular search engines, DDG does not collect any personal information.

So, by default, it doesn’t store any search history, ip addresses, and cookies. Furthermore, for added security, DDG automatically points to the encrypted (HTTPS) versions of websites. Not only that, you can also use DDG with Tor. For more information, please go here: Privacy

!Bang

This is one of DDG’s well-known features. It allows users to search on other websites directly from DDG’s search box. For example, I can write “!gmail quora” and it will take me directly to a search for “quora” on my gmail account. Or, I can type “!amazon ps4 controller” and it’ll will directly take me to this page: PS4 Controller.

There are thousands of websites for which !Bang shortcuts are available. If you can’t find a !bang shortcut for a website, you can create one on your own. As DDG says, “WARNING: Use of !bangs will forever change the way you search, leaving you with more free time and less frustration.” I have found this to be quite true. Once you go !bang, you never go back. For more information, please go here: !Bang

Category Pages

This is one of my favorite features of DDG. Basically, you can call category pages as instant answers within a specific category. It saves time by providing quick, short answers and by giving different, meaningful options related to the search term. For example, when I searched for “pressure”, this is what I got in DDG:

Similarly, when I searched for “south park characters”, I got this:

Not only does DDG provides immediate answers, the presentation is top-notch as well.

Regional Search

On DDG, users can get region-centric search results by changing the region in the settings. For example, if I search for “Quora” with US as the region, then the search results look like this:

Now, if I change the region to Russia, my search results change accordingly:

So, in one click the results can cater to an audience from a different region. Cool, isn’t it?

Ad-free Search

Although, by default, ads are shown in DDG, they can be easily turned off with a click. To do that, just venture into Advanced Settings >> General >> Advertisements and turn them off.

It’s great to have control as a user. None of the major search powerhouses provide such a choice to their users. However, I must emphasize that their ads are non-intrusive, relevant, and clean in appearance, so I have no qualms disabling AdBlock on DDG. That’s my way of supporting the company.

Customization Galore

DDG allows users to customize the appearance as per their liking. To name a few, users can change the theme, fonts, and colors. This is how the DDG page looks like in the “Terminal” theme, which is like a night mode:

In addition, users can change the language, enable/disable keyboard shortcuts, see favicons for the websites in search results, etc. Best of all, you can anonymously save your settings in the cloud.

In-site Search

Although Google and Bing both have in-site search, DDG’s implementation is simpler and more user-friendly. Hovering over every search result in DDG reveals a “More results” option. On clicking it, DDG will show you search results from only that particular website. For example, I searched for “The Walking Dead”. On the search results page, I can hover over any result and the “More results” option pops up. In this example, I hovered over IMDb:

Now, as shown in the image below, on clicking “More results”, the page shows results only from IMDb:

So simple, isn’t it?

Other Features

Here are some smaller, cool features of DDG:

Scrollable Results: Search results, by default, are not paginated, thereby making it easy to just scroll down and find more results. However, DDG gives users the control to disable this feature if they prefer paginated results.

Shorten and Expand URLs: With DDG, you can easily shorten and expand any link in a second. To shorten a long link, simply type the keyword “shorten” before the link and DDG will generate a shortened link. Exhibit:

Similarly, DDG can expand a short link, allowing you to see where exactly the link would lead to without actually opening it. To do that, you need to use the keyword “expand”.

Payment Calculator: DDG can help you to calculate your monthly payment on a loan quite easily. For this, you just need to use the keyword “loan”. For example:

Recipe Finder: You can easily find different recipes by using the keyword “recipe” in your search query. DDG would present different recipes in a beautiful format. For example:

Color Finder: Using DDG, you can easily find a color based on its hexadecimal code. For example:

Downtime Checker: DDG allows users to easily check whether a website is down or not from the search box itself:

Alternative Finder: You can find alternatives to apps, websites, software, etc. using DDG:

Events Finder: With the search query “events near me”, you can see upcoming events near you:

Twitch Live Streams: If you like watching live video game streams on Twitch, DDG makes the process a tad bit easier by showing some results right in the search page itself:

Music: On DDG, you can listen to an artist’s songs right inside the search results page itself. For example, when I searched for “Eminem”, I could listen to his popular songs without leaving the search page:


Credit to Gautham Anand for reminding me about this feature

Responsive Design: This is related more to user experience than features, but the search results page of DDG is responsive (adapts itself to the screen size), whereas Google’s and Bing’s isn’t. See the side-by-side comparison:

For many such cool features, go to DDG’s Goodies page. It includes a plethora of useful (or fun) features such as Anagram solver, People in space, and xkcd comics in DDG.

In short, the best thing about DDG is that it gives a lot of control back into the hands of users. Plus, it has a pretty sexy interface. Just G̶o̶o̶g̶l̶e̶ B̶i̶n̶g̶  duck it!

That’s all folks!


Update: DuckDuckGo just reached out to me on Twitter and offered me free merchandise. Yay!


How cool is this?! So nice of them.

What does DuckDuckGo search have to offer that other search engines don’t?

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