Ready, Set, DuckDuckGo!
Post By Saksham Garg on 01-July-2015
DuckDuckGo is a search engine just like Google or Bing, yet it stands out from the rest in many ways. According to Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, it’s ‘a search engine that focuses on smarter answers, less clutter*, and real privacy’. It means that unlike Google, DDG will give impartial results. It won’t modify the results according to your location or your previous searches, but gives the same results to anyone searching the same thing. The search engine relies less on a crawler* (though it has one) and more heavily on external sources like Yelp, Wikipedia, and WolframAlpha to generate instant answers and recommend pages. Last but most importantly, it doesn’t hinder the user’s privacy by tracking their searches and other information. As a result you won’t find ads on websites related to your past or recent searches.
So how did it get this peculiar name? Well most of you might have heard of the game ‘Duck, Duck, Goose!’ or ‘Kho-Kho’ played by children all over the world. The object of this game is to walk in a circle, tapping on each child's head until one is finally chosen and he or she must chase the picker to avoid becoming the next picker. Confused? Don’t be. Weinberg explained, "Really it just popped in my head one day and I just liked it. It is certainly influenced/derived from duck duck goose, but other than that there is no relation, e.g., a metaphor”. Kind of a bummer but hey don’t worry, a quite pleasant duck is there on its homepage to cheer you up!
DuckDuckGo: The Origins
Gabriel Weinberg was the man behind starting this venture and was also the only man for quite some time. The search engine is written in Perl and runs on nginx, FreeBSD and Linux. It was launched in 2008 and for three years Gabriel was the only employee. It was in 2011 that DuckDuckGo hired its first employee, Caine Tighe. Currently DDG has a strength of 21 employees. Gabriel had earlier launched The Names Database, which was acquired by United Online in 2006 for $10 million. This helped the initial finances required to model DuckDuckGo. Other than that it was months of hard work and strong determination.
No doubt DuckDuckGo has emerged as one of the most popular search engines in the past few years. In 2013, it handles over 1 billion queries! Most of its success has been attributed to growing privacy concerns worldwide. With even the smallest of flashlight app asking for access to your photos and contacts and what not, a search engine which doesn’t track you or your queries or sell your information to companies for profit. It has come a long way, still there’s a long way to go. We are so accustomed with Google that the word ‘search’ in our dictionaries has been replaced by ‘Google’. With added features and more refining, the time may not be far when we start saying ‘Let’s DuckDuckGo it!’
*Clutter: For a website to be cluttered, it has to have vast amounts of unnecessary code, not including the actual page content. If the text of a page is around 5% of the total source code, you might be cluttered my friend. If the unnecessary code is above the page content, it can prevent some search engines from reaching it.
*Crawler: A program that visits Web sites and reads their pages and other information in order to create entries for a search engine index. The major search engines on the Web all have such a program, which is also known as a "spider".