DuckDuckGo & Qwant – my review

Privacy matters. This is what you read everywhere. Google tracks you. Don’t use Google. Use DuckDuckGo. Use Qwant. They don’t.


There is no way to prove any of that. So I did a usability test. I started using DuckDuckGo as my main search engine. Every time I entered a search term, it was DuckDuckGo to deliver the result. Then I did the same with Qwant. The result?

  1. Awful user interface. I just hate it. It looks like it came right from a scam site.
  2. Bad search results. Often search terms had nothing to do with the results. A comparing search on google caused better results.

In the end, DuckDuckGo’s and Qwant’s only usp is privacy. And that I cannot verify.

So fuck privacy and welcome good search results.

4 comments Write a comment

  1. Slight correction:
    There are multiple ways to prove that Google collects data:
    – starting with looking into the source code of the google search results page (easy),
    – looking into the data which is stored on your computer (a bit harder, but still doable without extra tools. Those data is sometimes called cookies, but there is much more than only cookies. This data is sent every time to google you access a google domain. Google domains are in iframes on almost any webpage today.),
    – up to engaging a packet sniffer and looking into the packets that are transmitted (hard, because you have to be your own “man in the middle”, but not impossible).

    I have done these and other tests since some years and the result is quite obvious:

    – The first shows that every click you do is reported back to Google, i.e. they know on which search result you click (and collect a bunch of other information too) and each of such clicks actively sends a ping to the Google server before you navigate away from the page. This is accompanied by an individual ID.
    – The second shows that this data can be and is used to give you only search results you are interested in (not really, it only filters other stuff out and you will never see it, despite you might be highly interested in. Search for “filter bubble” to see what I mean)
    – The third shows that in some cases this ID is sent to Google from websites you visit.

    Other tests confirm that too.

    I call that tracking.

    Other than that: Read the Google TOS – they themselves write that they do it.

  2. DDG shows advertisements – but it opens no connections to the advertisers and does not deliver your searches to them. Their advertisements are directly based on the search term you just typed. The same methods like they are used for Google to find out if that is true apply, of course.

    How good the search results are always depends on what you search. Google is good for mainstream stuff and if you always search in the same direction, it gets scarily good at delivering exactly that stuff after a time – but sadly it then shows you almost no other stuff and that’s what I meant with “filter bubble”. You get fed with your own opinions, which is especially dangerous with social stuff: If Google once decides that you belong to the right/left/whatever wing you get _only_ results that fit – similar to facebook, which already had deadly (literally) implications.

    I personally don’t really care who uses which search engine, if people are happy with their search, all the power to them – but I personally do not rely on _one_ search engine alone. I am always surprised what I can find with other search engines that Google doesn’t show me (goes the other way too), that’s why I use about 20 different search engines, some of them highly specialized for exactly the tasks I need them for.

    My previous comment was no rant against Google or anyone using it, only a short description how to check if they do and Google was the easiest example. I could have done it with bing or – even worse – Yahoo! too. Other search engines are often not _that_ nosy and give more neutral results.

    Final words (only for this comment šŸ˜€ ):
    Trusting a single search engine to get the optimal result is IMHO a bit shortsighted (no offense intended), always get a second opinion as soon as it is not about pure technical stuff like e.g. programming. There might be other opinions or prices (for goods) or documents that are not in Googles index (Google only covers 60% of the web)

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