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DuckDuckGo is it A Better Search Engine?

DuckDuckGo or when it comes to your privacy and your personal information do you really know what information the other web sites are collecting?

Duck Duck Go sounds kind of weird doesn't it? It is a search engine that "doesn't track you" so they say.

For years the top search engine (a search engine is a web site that collects all the data from other web sites so it can to help you search for the subject of your interest) was Yahoo then Google came up and took the lead. More people use Google than all the other search engines in the world combined to find what they are looking for.

More than likely you found this page by searching and there is a 69% chance that Google gave you this web page.

The reason you should consider looking for a different search engine is the big guys are collecting a lot of information from you when you type in your search "keyword" in their search box, then clicking on the web site you are interested in supplied by the search web site. (See DuckDuckGo's Don't Track page for what they are really collecting).

Part of the information they collect is used in building a "profile" of your likes and searches that are part of you acceptance for using their web site to search for your information.

They then use that information to "target" you with certain types of ads because you searched for things that an advertiser or advertisers have paid the search engine to place on pages of the web site you are reading.

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These ads (the FCC said that ads have to be distinguished from the normal text of a page either by color or text in smaller print denoting the presence of an ad) come from the profile that the search engine has built up of your searches and where you go on the web.

Is it illegal? Not yet, there hasn't been a test case in the USA yet about the tracking.

Why hasn't there been a test case? My guess is it wont happen, the tracking information can be useful in law enforcement to some degree.

As the Supreme Court said about wireless cell phones and computers: "There is no expectation of privacy when broadcasting on a radio frequency!" and your cell phone along with your wireless connection of your computer are radio frequency devices - transmitter and receiver set.

So if the tracking of you while doing searches comes to the Supreme Court you will get the same result, and by the way the only way we can keep a "FREE" internet is to allow the companies that provide this service to make money.

There are reasons for collecting data, part of it is to provide a better "experience" [uh-huh...] when you search for your subject matter but there is a fly in the soup.

They collect more than they really need. They don't need to know your age, sex, where you are located while doing the search, or the Operating System you have on your computer and so on. All of this information is purely for the advertisers, it is of no use by the search engine at all.

DuckDuckGo is not a anonymous proxy web service in the respect that they do use some information when you do a search from their web site. (see my take on anonymous proxy web sites)

It is your privacy like your data if you don't protect it they will use is sometimes to help you and definitely to take advantage of you.

Other search engines may build a 'profile' of my searches which I can not stop [yet] but can limit because I use a RAM drive to store my IE and Firefox browser history and cookies on, when I shutdown the computer is is all gone, nothing stored on the hard drive where it can be retrieved.

Note: This web site collects three pieces of information from you when you read a page: Your location from the IP address, the page that sent you to this web site, and the pages you viewed while here. If you use a web site such as the Google HTTPS or an anonymous web site I still see where you come from and the pages. This should not be of a concern to you because I only use this information to improve this web site.

I am testing DuckDuckGo.com with some of my personal web browsers and may add more to this article at a later date.

Update 09/02/2013:

If you use social media such as Twitter, Facebook, or Google +1 you need to use the "Do Not Track Me" tool to unblock those services otherwise they will not display on the web page.

Update 03/14/2015:

For my personal use I have switched over to DuckDuckGo, the return on any keyword I do a search for is found and the list isn't limited to 10 returns per page, it scrolls down until you either didn't find what you are looking for or you find it. For my business I still use Google and Bing occasionally.

Update  02/12/20:

In 2017 I stopped using goggle or yahoo exclusively, I only use DuckDuckGo for my searches I also set my browsers to delete all coockies/history on exit of the program. Why? There was a test case in court where a disgruntled spouse used the browsing history of the defendant to sue for a devoice. Now I don't have marital problems and hope to not have them in the future however what I do on the internet is no one's business but mine! (Once again a lawyer has used the internet to gain the most financial advantage for their client, whether this is a good thing or not is up to debate...).



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