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10 Reasons Why You Should Search Using DuckDuckGo

If you care about your privacy you really should consider DuckDuckGo as your search engine. You get the privacy benefits and you don’t sacrifice on quality as it is a full featured and powerful alternative to Google and other search engines. This article has been lightly edited from the original article on the hongkiat web site.

10 Reasons Why You Should Search Using DuckDuckGo:

These days, mostly, a search engine is the only source of information whenever someone is seeking the answer of a problem or a query. Usually, we carry out our search queries over the most popular search engine Google.com which is asked more than 3 billion search queries around the globe daily.

But, some other search engines with sound features are also available for users. One of the prominent search engines is DuckDuckGo and it comes with some amazing features. In this post, we are going to look at 10 reasons why you should make DuckDuckGo your favorite search engine.

1. Protect The Privacy Of Your Searches

When using Google.com, each one of our search queries is tracked because Google needs the information to provide to its ad paying customers and uses this information to make our future search results more customized and relevant. Check out how you can use this to your advantage.

However, our search queries will reflect personal and intimate details about ourselves (e.g. health symptoms and how to seek medical help for certain conditions), things that we would and should prefer to keep private. In such cases, many of us want real privacy to carry out our searches, preferring to opt out of tracking. DDG respects our privacy and by default doesn’t track our searches. It’s even in their tagline.

You can see and customize the privacy settings by clicking on Options Button > Advanced Settings > Privacy. Here, you can select that whether you want to get tracked while searching sites or whether you want the secure or insecure version of http. You can also define video playback settings under the privacy section.

2. Save Your Settings In The Cloud

DDG allows you to save browser settings over the cloud by entering a passphrase. It uses Amazon S3 storage services to do this. All you need to do is save the settings using a passphrase. You can then load these settings on any other computer, using the same passphrase.

Enable Cloud Save by going into Advanced Settings. Here you will see the Cloud Save option on the right.

Click on Save Settings, enter a passphrase and click on the Save button.

To use these settings on a different computer, just go to Advanced Settings > Load Settings, and enter the exact passphrase you used. Click the Load button to enable the settings.

3. Narrow Down Your Search by Region

While searching on DDG, a user can change the region settings to customize the search results to cater to the audience of a particular region. To do this, go to Advanced Settings > General > Region. Then choose the region you want to narrow down your search results to.

4. Search Results Are In Categories

DDG allows categorized search for a particular term or word. For instance, if height is searched in DDG then it will show top search results related to the term and search results related to mathematics, people, and places as shown below.

5. Retrieving Information with Fewer Clicks

Whenever a search is made via DDG, it usually provides an immediate, short answer. You don’t have to click in to retrieve the information. This is a handy feature which can save your time especially when you just need a quick definition or a brief big picture understanding of your query.

6. All Search Results Are on A Single Page

While using other search engines, usually results for an asked query are displayed on multiple pages. Around 90% of people check only the search results displayed on the first page. One reason may be the assumption that search results on the second page onwards are not so important, which isn’t true.

Keeping this factor in consideration, DDG displays all search results on just a single page. Just scroll down and more results will be loaded and displayed.

7. Ad-Free Search Engine

By default, DDG displays the relevant ads to the search queries but you can make searches without being subjected to the ads. To disable ads in search results, click on Advanced Settings > General > Advertisements > Off.

8. Searching with a !Bang

One of the best things about DDG is its !bang feature. The best way to explain how it works is to show you. On the Duckduckgo search bar, type in "!amazon breaking bad" (without the quotes) and press Enter.

This entered search query will take you straight to the Amazon website, where you can see the search results for "breaking bad" merchandise returned by the on-site search engine.

Although this doesn’t work for all sites, the command does support "hundreds" of sites. Check out the full list here. If you want to add a particular site to be supported, send your request here.

9. Cool Keyboard Shortcuts

There are many useful keyboard shortcuts you can use on DDG. For instance, you can use the j key or down arrow and k or up arrow for moving down and up the search results.

The other shortcuts are:

  • h for going to the search box
  • s:d to show the results in terms of date (new/latest will be displayed at the top of the results)
  • m for going to the main search result

The list of all shortcuts can be found here. You can enable or disable keyboard shortcuts via the Settings page.

10. Changing the Appearance

One can customize the appearance of DDG as per their taste. You can find this in Settings > Theme. There are so far 6 different themes to choose from: Default, Basic, Contrast, Dark, Retro and Terminal. Here is what the Retro theme looks like. Changes are instant.

You can also change the font styles, sizes, page widths, background colours, typeface and color for results, etc. This is under Settings > Appearance. All changes are reflected instantly. However for them to stick, you need to click Save and Exit near the bottom.




(Via Web design hongkiat.com)

Gamergate Discrediting Wikipedia?!

Mark Bernstein has written a 3 part series on the serious issue of how Wikipedia is being used as a weapon against feminists who have been criticizing the portrayal of women in games. Gamergate refers to gaming developers and enthusiasts who are using Wikipedia and other media to discredit their critics. Mark’s articles are an important expose of how Wikipedia’s policy decisions are allowing the web site to be used as a weapon in an information war. If this is not corrected will we ever be able to trust Wikipedia again and is this the beginning of the end of its downfall?

Gamergate Part 1 Infamous
Gamergate Part 2 Thoughtless
Gamergate Part 3 Careless

Previous to this Wikipedia has been a success story because of their editorial processes that prevented lies and misuse of the information on its site. What has gone wrong?! Will it be corrected?

Should we trust Google? or FaceBook? or Amazon? or Apple?

My intent is not to spoil your happiness with Google (I use some of their services too) but in case you are curious why I am questioning their business model and trustworthiness below are a few reference points.

Google advertises themselves as the champion of openness but when it comes to their core business that matters (i.e. in order to trust motives follow the money) they are very secretive and their business model includes a lot of misdirection (e.g. almost all of their businesses lose money by design because they are subsidized by the only thing that matters which is their targeted advertising business). Which of the mega-corporations have the most transparent business model and clearest relationship with consumers?

I wrote a short article about Google security and privacy issues based on some videos of interviews with Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Eric Schmidt.

Mathias Doepfner of Axel Springer wrote an open letter to Eric Schmidt about Google’s capability to abuse their power from a European perspective.

It may already be too late … resistance may be futile but there are things even the least powerful can do to try to move in the right direction if we know what that is. If our futures are going to be determined by mega-corporations driven by the profit motive what business models would be most beneficial and least risky to society as a whole? Free services to placate consumers while our private data on all aspects of our lives is being harvested for purchase by the highest bidder? I think not.

It is essential to build consensus on what model a better future should be based on. It is not so much that certain people are evil but that they are incentivized/motivated by a model that is not healthy in the grand scheme of things. Are current technology trends leading us towards the greatest good for the greatest number of people? Too much power in the hands of a few people/corporations who could monitor and control the masses holds the risk of our future relying on the equivalent of benevolent dictators or feudal lords. Privacy could be the issue that future generations judge us on.

Bruce Schneier on data privacy and Google et al’s feudal model of security

Bruce Schneier on privacy being a key issue at this time in history.

Apple Criticizes Google on Privacy

On Daring Fireball, Gruber comments on Eric Schmidt’s response to Tim Cook’s latest Charlie Rose interview where Tim contrasted Apple vs. Google regarding protecting privacy. Eric’s response was that Tim Cook is misinformed about the security measures Google takes to protect user information from the government and crooks. Actually the issue Tim was talking about was Google’s business model which sells user’s private information to advertisers. Gruber wondered if Eric was being deliberately obtuse. I believe so because it is much easier to try to frame the issue as a security fix than it is to address a fundamental difference in business models. It is not the level of security that is the issue. The problem is Google’s business model like FaceBook’s is driven to share more and more user information to their advertiser customers to generate more revenue.

Apple also announced and was experimenting with getting into mobile advertising, which is a tempting source of revenue, but I suspect they will back off on that because they want to use privacy as a differentiator between them and Google who they consider their biggest competitor. Apple’s main business model is for their customers to explicitly pay for their hardware products. This has the merits of being transparent. Customers know what they are paying for and are clear about the cost. This has been quite successful so far but will consumers continue to support a pay for product value model or will they increasingly be tempted by products/services that appear to be free? Google and FaceBook are taking the approach that consumers will opt for the allure of free and not think too much about how money is being made from users private information.

Both Google and FaceBook lure users with free services while hoping the users remain unaware of the high price they are paying for the privilege by having their personal information sold. Google and FaceBook privacy features further confuse users by suggesting that their information is being protected while in reality the deal documented in fine print buried deep in agreements nobody reads is that Google and FaceBook assert their rights to sell user data to advertisers (based solely on the criteria of advertisers willingness to pay).

True privacy is when your information is not shared or sold without your informed consent. Google and FaceBook take the Big Brother approach which is “trust us to decide to sell whatever of your information we see fit to whoever pays”. How much can users be confident that these services will have their best interests protected when this goes against large corporations maximizing their revenue? This is a definite conflict of interest and it is not hard to guess that the corporation’s revenue interest will take precedence especially when many users are not even aware of the consequences of their information being sold. Eric and his colleague in the interview further confuse the issue by only mentioning how sharing information with service providers can help them provide better service to users. They conveniently leave out that they go beyond using the information to provide services and that their main revenue source is selling the information to companies so these companies can more effectively target selling of products to you.

I am deeply suspicious and skeptical of trusting corporations whose business model success is based on deception and keeping people ignorant on how the company really makes money. A confusing business model that inherently deceives users about what the relationship is with them, what they are paying, and is a conflict of interest (selling to the highest bidder with no regard to the interests of the person whose information it is) cannot be a good thing. The question is, will people become informed enough about privacy to care?

1Password in IOS 8

IOS 8 is going to bring a lot of improvements especially in the area of apps being able to communicate and supplement each other. One one very much desired improvement is better 1password security integration. This will make it so much easier to enter strong passwords without the hassle of trying to remember and type them in. Examples of how this will be able to work in apps and web sites that are updated with 1Password integration is shown in the following video.

WordPress Security

WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems for publishing information online. Over 20% of sites use WordPress so it is a popular target for attacks.

WordPress.tv has some videos on WordPress security to help people improve the security of their sites.

Notice the kid in the front row. You can never start too early to learn about this important topic.

I like the videos which provide concrete steps for improving security. A lot can be done by doing updates to fix small details that are a source for attacks.

Computer Administration

xkcd nails what is wrong with this picture in computer administration by visualizing what is really at risk vs. what is protected. At the very least if all your services are on your user account, especially if you have remember passwords activated for sensitive services, you should have a screen saving password that is invoked whenever you are not using the account.