What is DuckDuckGo? How to use the search engine as a more private, tracking-free alternative to Google

Summary List Placement

Though most people tend to use Google for web searches, DuckDuckGo is an alternative search engine that is favored by users who want to preserve their online privacy. Google and other common search tools (like Bing and Yahoo, for example) capture a lot of information about you when you perform a search. Much of this information is provided to advertisers or passed on to other websites. DuckDuckGo, however, has a policy of not tracking its users – it doesn’t collect personal information, use cookies, or capture your computer’s IP address. 

Because DuckDuckGo doesn’t create a user profile, that means using DuckDuckGo helps you escape the “filter bubble” created by other search engines. DuckDuckGo provides the exact same search results to all users, rather than customizing your results based on your previous search history or personal preferences. That makes the search engine a good choice for users trying to perform research on a topic that’s easily influenced by political or cultural bias. 

It’s also worth noting that DuckDuckGo is substantially more private than using Google with your web browser’s InPrivate or Incognito mode. Your activity while in Incognito mode can still be tracked and identified by search engines, so DuckDuckGo is a better choice for avoiding the limitations of that browser setting. 

How to use DuckDuckGo

You can open the DuckDuckGo webpage in any web browser in the same way you would visit Google or any other search engine site. 

If you prefer, you can also set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine or add it as an extension in your browser; to see how to do that in the Chrome browser, read our article on adding DuckDuckGo to Chrome

DuckDuckGo is also available as a mobile app. You can install the DuckDuckGo app for iOS or DuckDuckGo for Android to perform private searches on your phone. 

Performing a DuckDuckGo search

The DuckDuckGo search page is very similar to Google, with a single field to enter your search. The results are aggregated from hundreds of sources, including DuckDuckGo’s own web crawler, along with Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, specialty services like Wolfram Alpha, and others. 

You can use the menus at the top of the search results to customize and fine-tune your results. Depending on your search, you might also see quick answer boxes at the top of the page – similar to what Google offers, this is an info box that provides what DuckDuckGo thinks may be the best answer to your query. 

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