DuckDuckGo gives you a privacy-first gateway to ALL the search engines – with a bang

DuckDuckGo can transfer your query to many thousands of different, subject-specific online search engines.

DuckDuckGo gives you a privacy-first gateway to ALL the search engines – with a bang

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.

In the 1950s, secretarial dictation and typesetting manuals in the United States referred to the exclamation mark as "bang". This slang expression may have been inspired by comic books, but is likely to have emerged from letterpress printing according to Wikipedia. It is why we have names like interrobang (?!) and shebang (#!).


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:

best villain in mission impossible

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:

best villain in mission impossible !g

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:


best villain in mission impossible !w


best villain in mission impossible !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

Search engine !Bang
Google !g
Google Images !gi
Bing !b
Wikipedia !w
Wikipedia (Swedish) !wsv
Wolfram Alpha !wra
ARS technica !ars
The Verge !verge
Hackernoon !hno
Mashable !mashable
TechRadar !techradar
Medium !medium
Stack Overflow !sof
Reddit !r
Buzzfeed !bf
Khan Academy !ka
TED !ted
TED Ed !teded
ArXiv !arxiv
Merriam-Webster !mweb
9gag !9g or !9gag
Explain XKCD !exkcd
Youtube !yt or !youtube
TV Tropes !tvtropes
Spotify !spy
Souncloud !scloud
iTunes !itunes
Metacritic !mc
The Next Web !tnw
Cnet UK !cnetuk
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!