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Search engine wars: Raving over Duck Duck Go? Not so fast, buddy!

The DuckDuckGo project received a lot of publicity in the wake of the allegations about the NSA’s direct tapping into major technology hubs, such as Google and Microsoft.

Those that are concerned that their searches are being monitored – regardless of what Google’s official policies define – rushed to test and even adopt alternative search engines, such as DuckDuckGo.

While alternative solutions are welcome, as single sources of information can stifle its accuracy and value, the past history of DuckDuckGo and its creators leaves a lot to be desired.

In 2009, the creators of what eventually became the DuckDuckGo search engine, published an add-on toolbar for the Mozilla Firefox browser.

At that time, Firefox was still in its infancy, with release 3.0 and a market share that trailed that of Microsoft IE. In 2013,  Mozilla Firefox is about to release its 23.0 version and its market share in the browser market is now trailing that of Google Chrome.

The DuckDuckGo Toolbar, as it existed in 2009, intended to provide instant, remote database-driven blocking of web sites that are simply parked.

In all, at that time, 42 million parked web sites were stored and tagged as “useless” or “garbage“, simply because the creators of the toolbar did not like the concept of domain parking and monetization.

It is not clear why the toolbar was discontinued eventually, while at the same time the DuckDuckGo search engine became an independent, alternative search engine. It is safe to assume that the initial goal of the DuckDuckGo toolbar creators was to include the toolbar as a function in the default build of Firefox. That would have essentially wiped out direct access to millions of parked domains in a single move, based on the user base numbers of Firefox.

Luckily, that did not happen, but it’s an alarming indication of how a developer’s personal bias towards the value and worth of a domain can determine its access by billions of people around the world. For that matter, we are very concerned and skeptical regarding any adoption of the DuckDuckGo search engine for mainstream browsing.

For truly independent, peer-to-peer searching, one can test out YaCy.

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2 Responses to “Search engine wars: Raving over Duck Duck Go? Not so fast, buddy!”
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