Kin Lane

Using DuckDuckGo As My Search Engine

Continuing my evaluation of the technology I let into my life, I’ve switched from Google to DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine. After switching browsers, and ditching Google Chrome for Firefox, I wanted to also put over a decade of Google usage for web search behind me. I know my individual protest on the use of Google as a search engine will not make much of a dent in their bottom line, but it still matters to me. The less data exhaust I give to Google, the better. The less my life is used to train Google algorithms the better. I’ve been off Google Search for almost two weeks now, and I much prefer DuckDuckGo as my source of information.

Ok, so why DuckDuckGo? It says it right on the home page, “The search engine that doesn’t track you.” — that is all I ask. Provide me with a useful tool, carve out a sensible business model for you to generate revenue and keep the lights on, and we can do business. Honestly, it isn’t that much to ask. We should be able to do technology, provide server, desktop, and mobile applications that bring value, but do not surveil or exploit people. All I want is an application to be honest about what they are doing, and not keep secrets about how they make money, and what data they gather about me.

I spend a lot of time in the browser, and a lot of time searching the web. I just want access to a decent search engine to help find what I am looking for. I do not need every aspect of my life tracked and sold to the highest bidder, or even used to train predictive machine learning models. I don’t want to be worrying about what my search engine provider is up to. I don’t need companies having as much visibility as Google does into my life. Recently, I am all about minimizing the visibility Facebook, Google, and some other providers have into my life. I’m not advocating for boycotts of these platforms, as they still provide some value to me. I am just looking to minimize their reach in my life. Being more critical of which tools I use, why I use them, and spend more time scrutinizing and paying attention to the ethics of the company behind each tool I put to work.

I do not feel like I am missing out on any information. I feel like DuckDuckGo’s search results satisfy my personal and professional search needs. I still rely on Bing Search for my automated business search needs, as they are the only search engine with a real API for their search engine, which I can actually pay money to access. I am a little less concerned about companies like Microsoft having visibility into my professional world, than I am of companies like Google having visibility into my personal world. In the end, I’m pretty proud of myself for making this move. It feels like another significant shift in my digital landscape, one that really helps me better protect my digital self. Ensuring that I’m minimizing the surface area of my life that I willing to share with the technology companies I let into my life.