When you need to search for something online, what do you use? For most of humanity, the answer probably is Google. It’s the most used, most popular, most brand-recognized search engine on planet earth.
What else? Microsoft’s Bing? OK. Wikipedia comes to mind. Yahoo!, too. Even Ask.com, AOL.com, and other have their fans and features (Top 10 Search Engines). Way down at #8 is something of a favorite which now has a better way to search.
Privacy vs. Results
You knew Google was onto something as a search giant when the name became a verb. Nobody Bings anything. Nobody Yahoo!s anything. But we Google. The Google. Google is how most humans search for misinformation these days. Is there a better way? Probably not but that doesn’t stop us from trying alternatives because privacy.
Bing and Yahoo! offer much the same search results, and results similar to Google, but remember why they’re in business. All three of them collect data from their users in exchange for search results and advertising. Google pays Apple $3-billion or so a year to make Google the default search engine for Safari.
Are there better alternatives? Well, there are alternatives. One that caught my eye this week is an iOS update to the DuckDuckGo app. From what I can see, DuckDuckGo for iPhone is a browser wrapper with some extra privacy and security features, as well as a button that sets the screen on fire. More on that in a moment.
This is the new DuckDuckGo for iOS.
What you see is almost what you get, almost what you expect, almost what you want, and almost a better way to search online.
DuckDuckGo features privacy from encryption to not trackers, private searches, and similar protections across platforms. What you see above is the iPhone version. Controls are drop dead simple and self explanatory. What DuckDuckGo does is serve up search engine results as a browser that blocks what you don’t want to track you.
And, it takes a cue from Mozilla’s Firefox Focus app for iOS. One touch burns your search history instantly. Yes, your ISP might have it, which is another case for a VPN, but that’s a different issue.
DuckDuckGo’s app and browser extensions are worth a look, especially if you worry about how much Google tracks your searches and your browsing while online.
DuckDuckGo’s updated mobile app and browser extension offer tracker blocking, smarter encryption, and private search, meaning that for the first time, these privacy protection tools are available in a single product across all major platforms. This gives people all the privacy essentials they need to seamlessly take control of their personal information online. The product also shows a Privacy Grade rating (A-F) for each website visited. This rating lets users see at a glance how protected they are, dig into the details to see who was caught trying to track them, and learn how DuckDuckGo enhanced the underlying website’s privacy measures. The Privacy Grade is scored automatically based on the prevalence of hidden tracker networks, encryption availability, and website privacy practices.
This is really, really cool, all totally free, and it arrives with just a single caveat. It’s been my experience that DuckDuckGo’s search results are not as useful as Google’s. But that’s OK. Remember, the iOS app is really just a browser with DuckDuckGo’s useful privacy tools built into the preferences. Tap the D icon in the menubar to see details. Tap the … in the menubar for settings. Tap the Fire icon at the bottom of the screen and the browser’s history disappeared. It even grades websites.
I likes it.