DuckDuckGo is a product belonging to an American company called Duck Duck Go Inc. They aim to help protect people’s privacy online and their flagship product is their new search engine.

It started out as a hybrid search engine, using different APIs to create its service. But in 2010 it started to differentiate itself from competitors by focusing on privacy with the introduction of anonymous searching.

Many state that it is returning search engines to how they used to be. Since 2010 the search engine has grown.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does DuckDuckGo allow for anonymity?

DuckDuckGo offers anonymity by routing its traffic through a series of encrypted relays. DuckDuckGo states that it does not track its users, keeps favicons anonymous, the user's location is never sent to DuckDuckGo servers, and it offers limited third-party tracking and cookie protection.

What makes up DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo is a compilation of many sources including Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia, and its own web crawler (the DuckDuckBot) – but not Google.

It will also not show search results from companies that they believe to be ‘content mills’ – an example of this would be ‘eHow’ who publish thousands of articles per day specifically to rank in Google’s search engines.

Is DuckDuckGo a competitor of Google?

Yes and No.

As a search engine itself, DuckDuckGo can be seen as a competitor of Google.

However, it’s worth noting that in 2018 Google transferred ownership of to DuckDuckGo. And that in 2019 Google added DuckDuckGo to its default search engine list.

This could be seen as healthy competition or Google believing that it doesn’t need to worry.

As privacy becomes more and more of a concern, the use of DuckDuckGo could grow and become a real challenger to Google.

What are ‘Instant Answers’ within DuckDuckGo?

Whilst DuckDuckGo does show search results in the same manner as Google, it also shows some things that it calls ‘Instant Answers’ at the top of its search results.

These ‘Instant Answers’, as their name suggests, contain what DuckDuckGo believes to be the answer to your search query.

Their ‘Instant Answers’ are collected from third-party websites and they intend to answer without the individual needing to click on to the website that contains the answer. These ‘Instant Answers’ are maintained by a community of thousands open sourced contributors – this community is known as the ‘DuckDuckHack’.

These instant answers can be broken down into four types, depending on how the answer/information is found. They include…

  • Goodies – don’t retrieve data from third party APIs, instead they use a static data source such as a text file.
  • Spices – do retrieve data from third party APIs
  • Fatheads – they are key value answers hosted on DuckDuckGo’s backend
  • Longtails – they are full text queries within DuckDuckGo’s database of articles.

Since March 2023, DuckDuckGo has added ‘DuckAssist’ to their ‘Instant Answers’ to use AI to generate answers by scanning online encyclopedias like Wikipedia.

How does DuckDuckGo make its money?

DuckDuckGo works in the same way as every other search engine and it makes its money by showing Yahoo-Bing and eBay adverts to its users.

Whereas Google will show its users ads based on a variety of metrics it knows about you, our location, and your search history, DuckDuckGo shows its users adverts purely based on the search query at the time.

What about the name?

The owner has stated in interviews that the name DuckDuckGo does come from the children’s game but he used it simply because he likes the name.

Published: 10th Jan 2024

« Back