DuckDuckGo Claims Anonymity, But Does It Work?

Recently an inquiry came into the PC Matic help desk asking us to review search engine site DuckDuckGo. Typically, we aren’t into reviewing other products or sites, but we didn’t have a lot of background information and were curious.

DuckDuckGo claims anonymity and unbiased search results. That means when you use their site, your search history won’t be saved. It also means your answers won’t be filtered by targeted ads or tracking algorithms.

But does this site work? And, if so, what revenue fuels its fire?

There’s a great article on that provided me with some insight. DuckDuckGo does use advertising, but only based on what you’ve typed into the search bar at that moment. Instead of listening across your devices to find out what you’re thinking, they will simply connect you with something that matches your current search. And that’s it.

If you begin a new search? Well, anything you’d previously engaged with simply won’t be there. Want to bounce from bouncy castles to grills as you plan your upgraded backyard for the summer? DuckDuckGo isn’t looking to keep your data on their servers. As you search each item, they move with you. Instead of curating a backyard for you, DuckDuckGo allows you an unbiased look at what’s out there.

The Safer Search

DuckDuckGo is being touted as the “safer search engine” by those interested in privacy. That shouldn’t mean, however, that you should think of it as protection against malicious scripts or as a web filtering tool.

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The website outlines briefly how DuckDuckGo is still delivering a myriad of results for your searches. In other words, it’s not going to keep your kids from finding the bad stuff on the internet. It will, however, keep anyone from knowing what they search.

Not recording a search history will also not protect you from phishing attempts and picking up malicious scripts. You’re still going to need antivirus protection for that. Please don’t enter into this thinking the search engine will be a replacement for your protection software.

So Does It Work?

By all accounts, DuckDuckGo is doing exactly what it says it’s doing. So, yes. Users seem happy and reviewers agree it’s a great way to keep your searches private and tracking algorithm free.

While we don’t officially endorse other products here at PC Matic, I will say that I’m intrigued. There’s the ability on their site to add the extension to your browser. I went ahead an activated it. The few searches I’ve done thus far have come up with a great variety of results. All the tools I’m used to from my other searches are there. So far so good.

If privacy is your thing, and you know that the site isn’t protecting you from malware, I’d say there’s no harm in trying it out. Just make sure to keep your common sense hat on and your antivirus product active. Otherwise, happy searching!

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19 thoughts on “DuckDuckGo-od?

  1. I too have been using DDG for quite a few years and have found it to be an excellent search engine. I notice comment #2 has said that the Duck is affiliated with the government who spies on us to see if we are criminals. I don’t know that this is true, but I also don’t know that there is much you can do about it if it is true. What I do know is that the Duck is an excellent search engine and I shall continue to use it and PCMatic to protect me from Google and nefarious people who want to steal my information and maybe my computer for ransom.

  2. I have been using Duck-Duck-Go for years to avoid Google’s nefarious snooping. Moreover, in my experience D-D-G usually provides more relevant websites than Google because relevance is not tied to Google’s priority system which can be manipulated by advertisers.

  3. I too have been using DuckDuckGo for several years now. I like the way the results are presented, without a bunch of garbage on the side. The results are good, in my opinion. The obvious ones are large and have easy access to get to them. When I am searching for information, I don’t want to have to go through a bunch of results that may or may not be related to what I want to know. The result page is clean, uncluttered, and specific to the search.

  4. A friend counseled me several years ago about Google selling our info and suggested DuckDuck, as an alternative. She said that they don’t sell our data. I’ve used DuckDuck for these three years or so, w/o any difficulties. It does everything that I once depended on Google for.

  5. Just for the fact that DDG is not owned by big pharma filter engines like google is and the results are not screened with such bias I will continue to use it just for that reason to get the truth. And for the “dark” web commentary above that is a scare tactic and I feel that PCMatic will do a fine job of protecting me under google or DuckDuckGo searches.

  6. I’ve been using DDG for a few years and I can say that for research projects the results were pretty robust. In these times when it is becoming less fashionable to think for oneself, I like bias-free results. I don’t kid myself into thinking that my online activities aren’t tracked and collected somewhere, you’re kidding only yourself if you think Google isn’t doing something far more nefarious with data you don’t even know about. Would they have admitted listening to people’s conversations unknown to their customers if they hadn’t been exposed by Bloomberg? I continue to be amazed that something that belongs to me like my PID info can be used without my permission just because I use it to do business on a website. Once you spend money it is no longer yours, but I should retain the rights of PID ownership even after my death. There are many instances where you have no control over how your PID info is used. Privacy disclosure are intentionally written in ambiguous challenging language that is not easily understood. It does make sense that DDG has some connections with the Dark web, but I don’t think those cats have any worries about their isp’s or anyone else who’s watching. Many of us unknowingly support some bad dudes in everyday business transactions. How many of you bought Subway sandwiches before the revelations about their pitchman, Jared? Does that mean we all financially aided and abetted a serial child molester? The question is, will you buy them NOW, knowing what you know about how the company encouraged the relationship with his wife to keep what they already knew under wraps? Not No, But H&ll No!

  7. Thanks for your investigational report of Duck…! Another reason I am very happy with your full service. Did find a month ago and tried it, with knowing it was just a search and was not going to protect me. Well, after using it, notice very little unwanted junk of spam and phishing in my inbox. Which seemed to be picked up by some other means while using mostly Yahoo search for years. My junk virtually disappeared and ads were less intrusive. Just few days ago, switched back to Yahoo as a test; drastic difference and increase in junk. So switching back to the Duck.

  8. For those that do not know… DuckDuckGo is grossly affiliated with the Deep Web and the Dark Web. Although the browser may not be tracking your searches, governments and nefarious sources are monitoring it due to illegal activities such as human trafficking, child pornography and criminal drug sales or even terrorist recruiting.
    So your options are the Devil you know vs. the Devil you don’t know. Always exercise common sense with freedom. Also, be aware that even though the browser may not be logging your searches, most likely your internet provider is.

  9. I’ve used it for several years and I’m very happy with it. Glad to see your comments on it. Thanks!

  10. Because of my interest in the Linux and BSD communities, we’ve used DDG for quite some time. If you have grown tired of the targeted advertisements one gets after searches on Google or Bing, DDG is an excellent tool. I like it because, as Veronica notes, DDG provides more and different results that are not affected by Google’s biases.

  11. I have been using Duck-Duck-Go for years also because I don’t like the data mining and tracking that Google does. What really surprises me is that whenever I mention Duck-Duck-Go to friends / acquaintances as an alternative to Google most have never heard of it. I have found it to be a very good search engine, but the algorithms are different than Googles, and sometimes I have to switch to Google.

  12. I’ve been using Duckduckgo and I really like it and this review makes feel even better about it. I’ve noticed much better search results. Nice article.

  13. I have used it for many years……it’s also good to use it as an extra search, because it’s results will often come back with sites that google or MSN searches do not give you ! But I also use ECOSIA – because they say they use the funds to plant trees, and anything that helps with GW is good with me AND just like Duck-duck the results differ from the big guys results – very useful !

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