Clif Reeder

everything is grEAT

Why I Use DuckDuckGo, and You Should Too

I use DuckDuckGo (DDG) because it allows me to work faster and be more productive. If you are a developer or spend a lot of time on using Google search, I think it can help you too.

The way that DDG does this is by trading off text directives for GUI/mouse interactions. Assuming you can type faster than move and click a cursor, this is a big difference. To me, its like the difference between using Vim and a GUI based text editor.

DDG calls this the bang syntax. What it allows you to do is pipe your search directly to another site’s search - for example, Amazon, Wikipedia, Google Image Search, or hundreds of other places.

When searching Google, you probably often know what site you want results from, so you add that site name to your query. For example, if you wanted to look up HTTP codes, you may Google: ”wiki http codes”. You’d then hit enter and probably see this.

Google HTTP Code Search

Which is fine, but if you where using DuckDuckGo, you could search ”!wiki http codes”, hit enter, and immedietly see this.

DuckDuckGo HTTP Code Search

Zero mouse interaction, and you are already on the page you want. Being able to Alt+Tab into Chrome, Alt+L into my search bar, entering a query, hitting enter and being on the page I want, all without touching a mouse, is huge.

One of my favorites bangs is !js (or !javascript), which searches the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN). Simply speaking, the quality of MDN results are top notch, and Google returns all kinds of low quality results when searching for JavaScript.

For comparison, lets check out the first result for “javascript array” on Google.

Google 'javascript array' search

You’d probably see this page from W3 Schools. While useful for someone using JavaScript for the first time, it’s not the kind of resource developers want when they search for documentation.

DuckDuckGo '!javascript array' search

This page excellent page from MDN is the first result from searching “!javscript array” on DDG. Seriously, top notch stuff.

Still not convinced? DDG has a few other great features.

For all these reasons, I replaced Chrome’s default search to DDG about six months ago. There is a bit of a learning curve, but I find it to be an invaluable tool. Try it out, I think you might like it too.

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