When I tell people that I have set privacy-friendly DuckDuckGo as the default search engine on my phone and on my computer, I often hear objections along the lines of "Yeah, I tried that but it really wasn't as good as Google". The thing is, when DuckDuckGo doesn't give the results I want, I also use Google, Wikipedia, IMDB, Stack Overflow and many others. With a twist.
Here is the difference: I don't need to head over to any of those sites and type the same query again. I stay on DuckDuckGo and use a nifty feature called bangs.
Imagine you are using DuckDuckGo to search and aren't too happy with the results. Don't go somewhere else. Just add a bang shortcode to the search field.
Here's a potential search field after searching for "best villain in mission impossible" in DuckDuckGo:
Now let's say I'm not happy with the search results and want to use Google instead. I just add an exclamation mark and the letter g to the search field, like this: "!g". Now the search field looks like this:
If I hit enter now, the search will be redirected to Google and I will see the search results there. Keep in mind, this is simply a redirect so Google will take over from here and start tracking your session.
Here are examples of redirecting the search instead to Wikipedia or IMDB:
Why I recommend setting DuckDuckGo as default
More often than not, DuckDuckGo will definitely give you the search results you need – allowing you to search without being tracked. But if you find that you'd like to try the same search in another search engine, just add a bang shortcode.
This does not eliminate, but greatly reduces, your dependency on services that feed on your personal data and behavior. You may still have to rely on some privacy-invasive search engines day-to-day, but you no longer have to rely on them for every single search.
Skip to the most relevant search engine
You also skip many clicks by having access to all your favorite sites from the same search field.
Sometimes you will for example want to immediately search in Wikipedia, Merriam-Webster, IMDB or any other of your choices. Just add your bang from the start and you will head right there to the search results. No reason to stop by a general-purpose search tool.
All this is available from your browser address bar when DuckDuckGo is your default.
Your search engine alternatives are plentiful
As DuckDuckGo is not trying to control your behavior, or lock you in, your selection of search engines is ample and then some. Below I've listed just a small portion of the bangs you may want to try.
There are currently more than 13,500 available bangs(!) available. In fact, DuckDuckGo may encourage discovery and use of search engines that you didn't even know existed.
List of useful bangs for DuckDuckGo
|!9g or !9gag
|!yt or !youtube
|The Next Web
|You can search for and find more bangs in different categories on the DuckDuckGo website. There are many local websites and news outlets available.
DuckDuckGo has info on setting their search engine as default in your browser. Let me know how this works out for you!