Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Duck Duck Go

The Washington Post has published an excellent article on Gabriel Weinberg and his attempt to challenge the Googles and Bings of this world with a search engine that doesn't track users or monitor their buying habits.

Snippets follow:

"Not far from Valley Forge, around the corner from Bravo Pizza, up the road from Paoli Auto Body, there is an odd-looking office building that resembles a stone castle. An eye doctor is on the first floor. On the second floor is a search engine."

"The proprietor of the search engine is Gabriel Weinberg, who is 33. A few years ago, when Weinberg told his wife about his new business idea — pitting him against more established outfits such as Google and Bing — he admits that she briefly thought he was nuts."

"A start-up taking on Google in search is much like a raft taking on a cruise ship as a vacation option. But Weinberg is not delusional. With money lining his pockets from selling a start-up for $10 million, Weinberg bet there was a place in the market for a product capitalizing on users’ emerging annoyances with Google — its search results gamed by marketers; its pages cluttered with ads; every query tracked, logged and personalized to the point of creepiness."

"He called his little search engine project DuckDuckGo, after the children’s game Duck, Duck, Goose. (Instead of “Just Google it,” think “Just Duck it.”)"

So: DuckDuckGo does not track users. It doesn’t generate search results based on a user’s previous interests, potentially filtering out relevant information. It is not cluttered with ads. In many ways, DuckDuckGo is an homage the original Google — a pure search engine — and its use is soaring, with searches up from 10 million a month in October 2011 to 45 million this past October."

"Weinberg wanted to build a search engine that people could use quickly and purely. He wanted to focus especially on the first two or three results that users saw, but he didn’t have a lot of manpower to build a search engine from scratch. Weinberg decided to use publicly available search results from Yahoo — which is now fueled by Bing — for the bulk of his searches and use his programming talents to curate the top few links. He wanted those links to provide answers."

"Going to Google and typing “calories in a banana” will produce a page of links about bananas. Going to DuckDuckGo and typing “calories in a banana” will produce an answer: 105. The answer comes from WolframAlphra, a computational database that Weinberg linked to DuckDuckGo."

"He has linked hundreds of millions of popular searches to other outside data sources, such as Wikipedia and Yelp. Searching for “irritable bowel syndrome” on Google produces three ads as the top three links. The same search on DuckDuckGo produces three links about the disease from Wikipedia."


Brook Jordan said...

The same search on DuckDuckGo produces three links about the disease from Wikipedia."

... closely followed by an ad.

brett jordan said...