DuckDuckGo is making progress

Recently I’ve noticed that both here and my other blog I’ve been seeing only 80% of my search engine traffic coming from Google, with DuckDuckGo taking a solid second place at 10-15%. This is actually a surprise to me, both that Google is as low as it is and DDG so high.

The audience here presumably skews more technical than the average site, so this doesn’t necessarily tell us much about what’s going on in the web at large. But if DDG is making headway with a technical audience that’s probably a good sign for the future.

I’m glad to see DDG getting some kind of toehold in the market. I don’t know how far I trust their claims about improved privacy, but any kind of competition has to be good for the search engine marketplace. I care a lot less about the details of what Google does than the fact that they are a monopoly, and that can never be good for the customer. This is the same reason I’ve stopped using Google Analytics.

Every time DDG comes up on Hacker News there seems to be a range of people saying that its results are too bad to be usable. I find this curious; I’ve been using DDG for my main search engine for about a decade now, and on the occasions where I retry a query on Google I rarely find much improvement.

Of course, DDG is bad at hyper-localised queries that require some knowledge of your location or previous activity to make sense of; that’s kind of inevitable with a search engine that doesn’t track you. To me that’s a sacrifice worth making.

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