DuckDuckGo Is The Search Engine Google Should Have Been

DuckDuckGo Is The Search Engine Google Should Have Been
Image: Supplied

DuckDuckGo has been building a reputation as the “go to” search engine for folks who are privacy conscious. Unlike many other search engines, DuckDuckGo doesn’t track you or keep records of what you’ve been searching for. But aside from being privacy focused, what else does DuckDuckGo bring to the table? Here are our tips and tricks.

Start by making DuckDuckGo your default

Adding DuckDuckGo to your web browser is easy. Simply browse to A small pop-up will appear in the top-right corner of the display allowing you to add DockDuckGo to your browser.

DuckDuckGo Is The Search Engine Google Should Have Been

Once that’s done you’ll need to go to your browser’s settings and enable DuckDuckGo as the default browser.

    Safari: Open the Safari | Preferences menu and go to the Search section. Choose DuckDuckGo from the list of avail be search engines.

    Chrome: When you installed the Chrome plug-in, the setting was automatically updated for you.

    Firefox: When you installed the Chrome plug-in, the setting was automatically updated for you.

    Edge: Open the ellipsis menu at the right-hand edge of the toolbar and open Settings. Open the Advanced settings, click the Change search provider button and set DuckDuckGo as the default.

Bang out a quick search

DuckDuckGo has a shortcut system called Bangs. A Bang is a shorthand version of the “site:” modifier you can use with most search engines. For example, of you want to find something on Amazon, start the search with “!A” (without the quote marks) and the search will be limited to Amazon. If you use “!R”, you’ll search Reddit.

There are almost 12,000 bangs and you can create your own. There’s a full list of DuckDuckGo Bangs here

Quick cheat sheets

If you’re trying to find the shortcuts for a popular apps, simply type the name of the app followed by “cheat sheet” and you’ll get a list of handy shortcuts.

DuckDuckGo Is The Search Engine Google Should Have Been

URL shrinker and QR codes

As well as making it easy to find things, DuckDuckGo has a handy URL shortener built in. Just type in “shorten” (no quote marks) and the URL. DuckDuckGo will create a shortened URL for you.

Similarly, if you start the query with qr, DuckDuckGo will create a QR Code for that address.

Password generation

Need a new, strong password? Just type in password # where # is the password length you want and DuckDuckGo will create a strong password of that length.

DuckDuckGo Is The Search Engine Google Should Have Been

Finding alternative apps

DuckDuckGo has teamed with with AlternativeTo, a crowdsourced platform that provides recommendations for apps. If you’re after a different option for a task, then simply querying for “alternative to application_name” will bring up a list of apps you can choose from.

DuckDuckGo Is The Search Engine Google Should Have Been


If you’re a fan of the xkcd comic strip, just type xkcd into DuckDuckGo and the most recent strip will be displayed along with controls for flipping back to past strips.

This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • I find DuckDuckGo not as useful as Google…

    Where are all the useful shortcuts that Google has? – such as limiting searches to a date range, to Australia only (I find that the “Australia” switch still brings up lots of overseas sites), excluding words etc etc

    I just use Google in a Private Window to minimise privacy concerns.

    • This! I’ve been using DDG for about 2 years as my default search engine, and in trying to restrict searches to Australian results is pretty much useless. In the end I usually resort to adding “Australia” or a capital city to the end of my search string and the sometimes does the trick.

    • Yeah, i would like that too. The engine is relatively new so they might add it. Problem is it might involve some sort of tracking which they seem against.

      Btw privacy mode isnt what you think it is. It only stops your browser from recording any history. All your searches and whatever else you do google can still easily see and track.

  • I get that some people like their privacy, but for me there’s something to be said for having Google learn the kind of things I search for and bringing me back the most relevant based on my previous searches.

  • This Google dog might just turn around bite us.

    Google Chrome is undoubtedly superior to all other browsers. Even Apple Inc had a plan to drop Safari and have Chrome installed as default.

    But hey, if you have a Android phone you have just thrown privacy out the window. Google seems like a nice passive dog for now, but we have given it all the tools to turn nasty. Why not Google is big business & big bucks. The dollar rules. There is no telling what they could do with all the information they have on us.

    Look at Google this week, they want to break Addblock. Google do not understand people like to walk their own street add free, we also like to peruse the net and not see adds when we are not shopping. Hey Google the internet is not the place to hog with companies try to flog there wares on every web page.

    I run Tor Browser when I do not want Google to collect shopping information from me. It works a treat.

    • Good on ya mate. Chrome is actually a very insecure browser. The most prolly. Its just popular cuz google is.
      Im glad your aware of how much info they steal from you to sell ads. Its crazy.

      I use brave atm cuz its like a better chrome.

  • Been using it for ages and once I got used to it, I found it just as good as Google for finding anything I need. Privacy is important and Google do not like it when you hide your info from them.

  • While its still not as refined as google, duckduckgo is now my fav go to engine.
    Google is starting to censor websites. Not even actually illegal ones. Those are ok apparently. Even the porn ones. Those are everywhere and fine. No, they censor drug harm minimalisation sites where ppl ask advice on safe drug use. Its like they dont care that its gonna kill ppl. Thats a grey area but def not illegal and can save lives. And before some moron chimes in, ppl have been doing drugs since the begining of the human race. Your opinion on it is irrelevant as safe or not, theyre gonna do it anyway. If you think hiding info on how to use a drug safely is a bad thing then your a piece of garbage human. Of course not all are but only the approved ones where every answer is ‘dont’ are there. Refer to above where i said theyre still gonna do it anyway, cept with no knowledge on using it without harm or dying.
    And thats just one example i can think of atm. I knoe there are others. Bitcoin related sites, right wing sites and forums and basically anything google doesnt agree with. Screw that. Your not our govt or parents google. Hell, even they cant infrimge on the right of freedom and information, the hell makes them think they can?

    And thats just the begining. Wait till they start censoring alternative media and platforms. Theyve already been caught admiting to trying to influence politics through shady means.

    I implore you guys, DO NOT TRUST THEM.
    Only use google if you have to. Use duckduckgo instead. I know it still has more refinements to go but its almost as good.
    You can bet your ass they are collecting your data and selling it to the highest bidder. Just like FB and some other social media. How exactly do you think they make money, ever wondered that?
    With Ads and by using and selling your data to target the ads more accurately.

    I implore you, dear reader to plz be more mindful of what data your sending and how its being used. I know most dont care about privacy atm but trust me, when they start abusing that privacy, and they eventually will, you will feel violated. They know everything about you already. Its the internet version of having cameras tracking you. Hell, they already listen through your mic sometimes for key words and display relevant ads. That tech has been there since voice commands and txt to speech. Not hard to make an algorithm to do this.
    Power like that will be abused eventually. All a matter of time.

    Also, stop using chrome. Its the unsafest and non private browser out there. As in its the easiest to hijack and hack by all kinds of nasty malware.
    Use Brave. It kicks ass. Has inbuilt adblock AND lets you play youtube in the background. You know how awesome that is? Google and its platforms dont want you to do that cuz you wont see their ads then. Well, screw em. They got enough money as it is. Not to mention you can still hear their ads. Good luck getting the real answer from them as to why you cant do that in other browsers though.

    Sorry for all the rambling but i figure since DDG is privacy inspired, i thought this a good place to air my opinion. Take it as you will. Its really your privacy your giving away, not mine.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!