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Bill Bennett

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Duck Duck Go undercooked in New Zealand

Duck Duck Go is a welcome alternative to Google’s nosy search engine.

It doesn’t spy on you. It doesn’t track your searches. Nor does it collect your IP address when you search. There’s no log-in.

Contrast this with Google, a company that made US$66 billion last year from tracking behaviour and serving users up to the highest bidder.

Leave no trail

No government agency is ever going to subpoena your Duck Duck Go history, because there isn’t one. There’s no personal trail for online criminals to mine.

Google may seem harmless. It may not do much damage. But the premise behind its business model is, at best, unsettling. You are the product. Your thoughts, desires and needs are packaged and sold.

The justification for this is that Google is doing you a favour, it serves up relevant ads for things it’s algorithms believes you’ll want to buy.

Nonsense. In years of googling I’ve never seen a useful advertisement. I’ve never been delighted by a paid suggestion unless the advertiser’s site was the one I was looking for anyway.

Duck Duck Go unthreatening

There’s nothing remotely malign about Duck Duck Go. Yes, it serves up ads based on keywords used in your searches, but that’s all. It turns out being a nicer, kinder search engine is a viable business model.

You can choose Duck Duck Go as your default search engine in some browsers.

For I while I had Safari on my Mac and iOS devices set up with Duck Duck Go. It works well for many searches, but in the end I had to return to Google.

That’s because Duck Duck Go has poor coverage of New Zealand websites. Too often I couldn’t find the local information I needed, where Google finds it straight away.

That will change over time if the search engine has the resources to crawl New Zealand web sites.

Take this site: billbennett.co.nz. At the last count Google has indexed 2540 pages. I can’t tell you how many pages Duck Duck Go has indexed – if you know how to find this information please share – but recent pages are not there.

Meanwhile, Google’s indexing is bang up to date. For now I’ll have to stick with Google, but I make a point of watching Duck Duck Go, one of these days it’ll be my first choice for search.

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