In my quest to eradicate all traces of Google from my life within 30 days (see the first part of the series for more information on why I am undertaking this, seemingly insane, goal) I have effectively removed Android, Gmail, and even Google Drive and Docs.
But I have yet to mentioned the one service that Google is most known for. Their bread and butter: Search. You know. Google. Dot Com.
The reason that I haven't really brought up the topic of search, until now, is that it wasn't really an issue for me. I'd been slowly leaving Google search behind in favor of DuckDuckGo. But people are asking what I'm using for search. So it's time to address it.
It's simple, really. I'm using DuckDuckGo.com instead of Google.com for searching. It works. It's free. It took me, roughly, zero time to make the switch. And, after months of using "The Duck," I find myself quite happy with the service.
My initial reasons for opting to go with DuckDuckGo were pretty straight forward – they help financially support Free and Open Source Software, and they are dedicated to respecting my privacy by not tracking my search history. Those are two of the easiest ways to win brownie points with me. Lots and lots of brownie points.
I've heard of some people who have tried using DuckDuckGo but ended up back on Google search because they feel like the Google search results were "better." While I can't say that DuckDuckGo provided me with any better search results than Google... they also weren't any worse. I never did a side-by-side search result comparison of the two, mind you. But I definitely haven't had any difficulties using "The Duck" instead of Google.
In fact, there are a few things about "Ole Ducky" that I love. To start with... it's fully keyboard-navigable. Type out your search, then use the arrow keys (or "j" and "k") to move up and down the list of results. Hit enter to open that page. I find that incredibly handy.
The Duck has some easy-to-follow documentation to allow you to master your searching as well – most notably, it's worth checking out the syntax page. Things like using "inbody:" (or simply "b:") to make sure that you will only get results where your search text appears in the body of the page. Think about that one for a second, because it's kind of awesome.
"Bangs" allow you to customize searches of specific sites and services. For example, the bang, "!a pancakes" will search Amazon.com for pancakes. There are over 6,000 "bangs," for everything from Stack Overflow to Twitter and Wikipedia.
You can even customize Mr. Duck with different themes, fonts, languages and privacy settings.
If you can't tell... I really like this service. The only real problem I have with it is that saying "I'm going to DuckDuckGo that" just doesn't flow as nicely as "I'm going to Google that." What is the verb for searching for something via DuckDuckGo?
I've standardized on "Duck it" which, I think we can all agree, sounds way more hardcore than "Google it."
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to banging my head against a wall while trying to figure out how to replace Google Voice with something Open Source.