#!/bin/blog

Duck Side

When you surf the web you should be aware of the hidden issues, the dark side of moon. I will try to explain why Google search usage is not really required (and people just use it as they don't know the alternatives, or know them but still prefer 'the most powerful web engine ever made'

Is Google powerful? Yes, sure. I've read the paperback of the "In the Plex" book to know more about them. This company is just great, because they have made great things. They used to make them in the first years. They provide knowledge and hundreds of working places on the labor market around the world.

But behind all this they really have something not to be OK. I won't just repeat Stallman's words about Google and what is wrong with it. You can read yourself and build your personal opinion. I will talk about the benefits of using privacy-oriented search engines (DuckDuckGo and Startpage). Of course they have their cons, and I will tell about them as well, it is not just the propaganda of paranoia, it is about the advantages and benefits of one site comparing to another.

Bangs!

Speaking about the DDG you have the opportunity to use the search on another site. It is not just about the query like dog site:makh.it, this is about something more and more comfortable.

The "site:x" structure works here as well, but the result is shown on the search engine page, and you can't get all the information from that. Just because of the way it works.

Using the bangs you can search directly on the website. Bang is just the exclamation mark and a keyword to the site. If you want to search for Aaron Swartz on Wikipedia, just type the query: !w Aaron Swartz - and you will be there. You can start with "!" and you will see some propositions.

ddg-bang.png

Yes, you can use the 'more secure and safe' version of Google from here. There are more than 10000 bangs in the base. Some repeat the function, but they are too short.

It is useful to use the bang to search location on the OpenStreetMaps for example, or to use the Duck magic to search for pictures outside the DuckDuckGo environment. The major problem here is the search for pictures - it is really not that good, and your query should be almost exact for the better results. And you are mot able to search by exact images and there are some restrictions - so if you search only for images you may probably use some other search engines. But just from DDG search engine you can search directly in Google Images, whatever. Just add "!i" before the query.

And if you can't find something in DuckDuckGo - I bet the results are accurate and suitable in minimum of 80% of queries - you can use the bang "!s" to use the Startpage - another good engine, and it provides close-to-google output.

If you put the exclamation mark after the query - it will be something like "I am feeling lucky" in Google search.

Instant results

It is not just an instant noodles or coffee. If you type the error message from a compiler, interpreter or even the console - you will probably see the advised or top-rated resolution from one of the Stack sites. The one marked the best. You can expand the view and open the following link.

ddg-instant.png

The same will fork for song lyrics, for weather and somehow for recipes. You can do some math, convert currencies (just like in Google), and execute or simulate some commands from bash.

I am mostly using the "pwgen" command. For example, if you type pwgen 16 strong you will get a string with a proposed password. And the query bash cheatsheet will open you the list of basic bash shortcuts, tips, commands etc.

Customization

You are free to setup the site as you wish. It has pre-installed themes, but you can use HTML color codes to have the view that suits your tastes. Just open the settings and 'draw a masterpiece'. You can save the design - you should think of a password. Just a password to type it elsewhere else (for example, on another PC) - and you will get the same design. Password should be unique, and DDG recommends using few words with spaces to remember it. Like "little green frog" or "Stallman Linus Ian". Up to you.

You can customize the search output. Enabling/disabling safe search, setting the output for the particular countries. You are not tracked - the system won't guess what is your location.

The real advantage

Speaking of bangs, tips etc. is OK. It not only brings the comfortable usage of the search engine, it also provides the real privacy and security. You don't get ads, you don't receive search suggestions based on your personal activity throughout the Web, you just get the most popular ones.

Have not you thought Google sometimes shows you the relevant ads, it prompts relevant search suggestions, and even more, it keeps your inputs if you don't switch the option off. But if you do that - it still be tracking you.

I don't want to repeat myself, you can check the previous post regarding some adequate privacy solutions.

You shoukd avoid giving the information for those who can use it against you. Especially if they make you think it's done for good.

Further reading:




Leave your response!