Published: 04 January 2017
There’s a pretty good chance you’re never heard of DuckDuckGo, or you may know the name, but aren’t fully aware of why. You almost certainly don’t use it.
I’ll fill you in briefly. DuckDuckGo is a new (ish) search engine that majors on privacy. It does not collect data from any of its users meaning that all searches you conduct through their search engine are anonymous. It was actually launched back in 2008, but in the past 4 years its popularity has been growing exponentially, hitting over 10 million searches a day in 2015 and currently averaging about 12 million a day, though this is still minuscule compared to Google’s stats.
There are various reasons why you might want to hide your personal details, (and not just because you might be up to no good), the proliferation of cookies tracking you for advertising purposes being just one. However, DuckDuckGo also has loads of other features that are actually really useful. Here’s some of my favourites:
Writing a poem? Or maybe you just like to inject some flair into your work emails. But what does flair rhyme with?
Every so often, you may need to change the case of some text from upper to lower or in to title case. There are of course ways of doing this in word or excel, but since 99% of us will need to Google how to do this each time, why not cut out the middle man? Simply add lowercase, uppercase or title case before your phrase.
Running out of pets/children’s names or just lacking inspiration? DuckDuckGo will generate a random password for you. Just search for password. By default it will give you an 8 digit, average strength password. You can specify the number of digits by adding the number at the end. You can also specify if you want a strong or weak password.
You’ll probably need to write it down somewhere.
I can’t think of any reason you would use this unless you’re cheating during a quiz or while watching Countdown. It’s quite useful to know all the same though. Simply add ‘anagram’ before your mystery word.
Another feature that is available elsewhere but being able to do it on DuckDuckGo means you can quickly do it on your phone or other device, should the need arise. Add ‘chars’ at the end of your text to find out the number of characters.
Probably their biggest feature, !bangs allow you to search within a site directly from DuckDuckGo. Typing ! into the search box brings up a list of all the sites currently included (there are over 9000)
Choose the site you want and then add your search query, you will be taken directly to the search results on that site.
There are lots more features available in addition to those mentioned above. As a search engine, DuckDuckGo still has some way to go before it will start to match the more established players in terms of quality and relevancy of results, but for those concerned about data privacy, you can find out more about how they work here.
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