DuckDuck Go and Its View of Google

August 16, 2018

A post at the Search Engine Journal reproduces a series of tweets—“DuckDuckGo Blasts Google for Anti-Competitive Search Behavior,” they report. Writer Matt Southern introduces the captured tweets, noting that DuckDuckGo seems to have been prompted by the record $5 billion fine recently levied on Google by the EU for antitrust violations. Here’s what DuckDuckGo had to say about specific ways Googley practices have affected them:

“We welcome the EU cracking down on Google’s anti-competitive search behavior. We have felt its effects first hand for many years and has led directly to us having less market share on Android vs iOS and in general mobile vs desktop.

We noted:

“Up until just last year, it was impossible to add DuckDuckGo to Chrome on Android, and it is still impossible on Chrome on iOS. We are also not included in the default list of search options like we are in Safari, even though we are among the top search engines in many countries.

And this statement was interesting:

“The Google search widget is featured prominently on most Android builds and is impossible to change the search provider. For a long time it was also impossible to even remove this widget without installing a launcher that effectively changed the whole way the OS works. Their anti-competitive search behavior isn’t limited to Android. Every time we update our Chrome browser extension, all of our users are faced with an official-looking dialogue asking them if they’d like to revert their search settings and disable the entire extension.”

Google owns the domain Duck.com, which redirects to the Google home page and may confuse some DuckDuckGo users. Southern notes the privacy-centric search engine continues to dog Google on Twitter; for example, they recently called it a “myth” that users cannot be tracked when using (Google-owned) Chrome in Incognito mode and linked to a post that details why their process is far more effective at protecting user privacy. I suggest the curious navigate to that resource for the technical details.

BeyondSearch believes that DuckDuckGo is a metasearch system with some unique content. Depending on one’s point of view, there may be significant differences between DuckDuckGo and primary Web indexing systems like Exalead, Qwant, or Yandex. Running the same query on different systems is often a useful way to get a sense of what is in an index and what is not.

Cynthia Murrell, August 14, 2018

 

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