Interview with DuckDuckGo's Gabriel Weinberg

By Julio Franco ยท 20 replies
Aug 21, 2012
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  1. Jay Pfoutz

    Jay Pfoutz Malware Helper Posts: 4,282   +49

    Overall, an awesome job in the interview. I like the DuckDuckGo search engine, and have submitted direct comments to GW before. With almost immediate response (a day or so), he seemed pleased at my comment.
  2. Indeed, I find myself using DDG more and more now. I hope they implement more search functions one day.
  3. I've used DDG before but went back to Google out of habit. I'll probably use DDG again.
  4. DanUK

    DanUK TS Booster Posts: 211   +9

    Very interesting article. I guess I've never taken too much care to research privacy/search engines before, but I will give DDG a go over the next week or two and see how it performs (in terms of search quality).
  5. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,285   +901

    Mmm the best of lucks, I dont like the long domain name but... thats just me
  6. Seriously can't post about StartPage?
  7. TekGun

    TekGun TS Booster Posts: 162   +25

    Seriously can't string a sentence together?

    Interesting interview, I recently started using DDG as a compliment to my search engines and actually the results aren't bad.
  8. I have been using DDG for about a year now and use it as my primary search. I do use Bing and Google at times depending on the type of search I'm doing. They all have areas where one is slightly better than the others depending on the search.
  9. I use DuckDuckGo everyday, a great alternative to Google. :)
  10. For people who are too lazy to read the article, here is a quote from the interview which explains the difference in terms of privacy vs. Google:

  11. That's reason enough to give them a try.
    I had heard of them before but did not know much about them.
    Google's collecting of data is getting way out of hand. Even when they are forced to purge data they forget to do it.
  12. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

  13. Jos

    Jos TechSpot Staff Posts: 3,073   +97

  14. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,372   +69

    As kids in Chicago we would play a game called duck duck goose. Deja vu.
  15. Google gives me the creeps. DDG is a great alternative that shares the same values I have, namely privacy. Glad there is a company out there that realizes you don't have to cannibalize your users to make a good product.
  16. I was wondering how to submit my sitemap to DDG. I read GW saying that they have got their own crawler.

    PS: (this is completely unrelated but, every time I saw GW I read it as GoneWild)
  17. After this article, I made DuckDuckGo as my default search engine.
  18. Jwalant Soneji

    Jwalant Soneji TS Rookie

    Its an awesome search engine... it seems you are using a command lines to mine data. Perfect integration with data sources spread over the internet.
    It does not mind going to Google (!g) or any other search engine if you want different results...
  19. Original Paulie

    Original Paulie TS Rookie

    2012-09-05: Today, DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel sent his mailing list a formal request to submit a series of queries using specific words at a specific moment in time.

    What I found most interesting was the criteria he asked users to submit; the words seemed to have an uncanny relation and a deeper, hidden agenda.

    In what appears to be a lame attempt designed to positively impact Google Analytics on items that are clearly pro obama, Gabriel asked his faithful users to perform the following steps as a "test" of his 'Don't Bubble Us' ( ) campaign against the Google monster:

    "1) WAIT until Thursday, 9/6 at 2pm Eastern Time (11am Pacific, 7pm GMT, etc.). Since results can change quickly it is best if we all do it at around the same time.

    2) Search for these three queries and take screen-shots of the results with personal results on (the default): abortion, gun control, obama."

    Despite being a huge DDG fan, I am not a proponent of anything obama and, therefore, will not be participating.

    In fact, I am asking others who agree with my assessment to submit pro-Republican words at that same date and time using

    I contacted Gabriel to convey my sentiments and he responed as follows:

    "Sorry, but this is in no way pro or anti obama. If you knew me personally you'd know that to be the case."

    To which I responded:

    "How, then, did you choose three words that have such an uncanny connection to obama? I am certain others will arrive at the same interpretation. "

    Gabriel's response:

    " I chose them because they were used in the filter bubble book and in the reviews of it (see as examples where people saw pretty different results, and also because they have to do with the election so they are searched often right now (and potentially influenced by search history).

    I don't see them as connecting to obama at all in particular. They are very general issues and terms related to the election. "

    My observation remains: Whether he's pro- or anti-Obama, it may not be totally clear. But what is painfully obvious is that he chose three highly-charged, political words that are extremely controversial at a highly-sensitive, political time. There was definitely some type of political motive behind those words. Otherwise, why couldn't he have suggested sports, baseball, Yankees?

    2012-09-06: Gabriel sent an update to his seemingly politically-motivated agenda:

    Hi all, here are some clarifications for The Filter Bubble test (upcoming later today in ~5hr). Thank you to those who pointed out these ambiguities!

    A) Please run the searches on Google (not DDG). They are: abortion, gun control, obama.

    B) Some people (it seems generally outside the US) do not have a personal results toggle. In that case, just do it signed in (on) and then singed out (off).

    C) The time is September 6th (today) 14:00 (2pm) Eastern Time, 11:00am Pacific Time. I previously got the GMT time wrong due to daylight savings. It should be 18:00 (6pm) GMT. You can check your particular time zone at (substituting your location or timezone at the end).

    With that in mind, here are the abbreviated directions again:

    1) At the right time, take screen-shots of the three Google searches signed into Google (so your results are as personalized as possible).

    2) Sign out of Google, and take three more screen-shots of the Google searches (now signed out).

    3) Reply and send in the attachments named like obama_on.png, obama_off.png, etc.

    Here are some additional notes:

    -- If you don't have a Google account, just do the signed out version. Google personalizes results somewhat even when you are signed out (by location, for example). We want to compare signed out results to each other not just signed out to signed in for a particular user.

    -- When signed in, Google can personalize results based on your use of Google services (news, google+, youtube, web history, etc.) as well as your connected accounts (facebook, twitter, etc.). Check out this stuff here: (search preferences, look for personal results), (ad preferences), (web history), (connected accounts), (click on gears icon).

    -- If you use Windows and don't have the Snipping Tool, you can use the Print Screen button on your keyboard and copy and paste it into Paint: If you want to download additional software, a user recommended Greenshot ( which also allows you to remove some of the shot (e.g. email address). We, however, will not share any personal information from this test.

    -- On Mac, here are the ways to take a screen-shot:

    And here are some additional explanations (based on the feedback so far).

    -- We won't share all the screen-shots because they can contain personal information. Since it isn't a scientific experiment per se, we don't have particular results we're looking for or collecting, so there isn't something obvious to share. We're exploring ways to explain The Filter Bubble concept better, e.g. through a video or plugin, and thought having some real data to work with would help in that effort. If we come across something obvious and compelling to share back we will, and if you have any suggestions please offer them.

    -- The keyword searches were not politically motivated. They were chosen because they were associated with results that people had reported significantly different in the past (see figs 8 & 10 on and because right now they are searched for very often due to the US presidential election.

  20. avoidz

    avoidz TS Guru Posts: 460   +56

    I have also been using alternatives to Google for the past few months. DuckDuckGo is one of them. I have Startpage as primary search. But I do use Bing and Google for some things which they are better for... at the moment. I've used Google Search since the late 1990s, but I just don't like their user tracking policies. The government keeping tabs on everything I do is enough; I don't need another company doing the same.

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