Behind the Scenes at DuckDuckGo

February 14, 2013

High Scalability gives us an in-depth look at the burgeoning DuckDuckGo derived from an interview with the site’s founder, Gabriel Weinberg, in “DuckDuckGo Architecture—1 Million Deep Searches a Day and Growing.” Writer Todd Hoff notes that the Duck is proudly famous for (or famously proud of) refusing to collect data on their users. Though it is understandable that Weinberg emphasizes that popular stance, Hoff is more interested in the mechanics behind the service. He writes:

“What I found most compelling is DDG’s strong vision of a crowdsourced network of plugins giving broader search coverage by tying an army of vertical data suppliers into their search framework. For example, there’s a specialized Lego plugin for searching against a complete Lego database. Use the name of a spice in your search query, for example, and DDG will recognize it and may trigger a deeper search against a highly tuned recipe database. Many different plugins can be triggered on each search and it’s all handled in real-time.

“Can’t searching the Open Web provide all this data? No really. This is structured data with semantics. Not an HTML page. You need a search engine that’s capable of categorizing, mapping, merging, filtering, prioritizing, searching, formatting, and disambiguating richer data sets and you can’t do that with a keyword search.”

He’s right. I do turn to DuckDuckGo for such deep searches, but I often go back to Google if I need a broader one. It is good to have a variety of tools. All else being equal, I do prefer the Duck’s privacy policy.

That bragging point, however, comes at a cost. Like other Web search engines, DuckDuckGo is ad-supported, but their key policy makes it impossible to take advantage of the most lucrative source of revenue—the targeted ad. Our view is that 2013 is about revenue, not about bits and bytes, or about popularity. We hope our fellow water-fowl makes it through okay.

Do check out Hoff’s article if you are interested in the mechanics behind DuckDuckGo. It is chock-full of detailed information.

Cynthia Murrell, February 14, 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext


2 Responses to “Behind the Scenes at DuckDuckGo”

  1. bekinc on February 14th, 2013 7:16 am

    RT @BeyondSearch: Behind the Scenes at DuckDuckGo:

  2. Best Private Search Engine On The Internet – Duck Duck Go « Developers Corner on February 21st, 2013 4:14 am

    […] Behind the Scenes at DuckDuckGo ( […]

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