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Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Duck.com keeps growing. You should use it.

In 2014 I linked to a post that showed DuckDuckGo‘s daily search volume at roughly 5 million searches per day. In 2015 they had grown to 12 million per day.

I hadn’t checked in to their stats in a long time until I saw this tweet from them. They are now averaging 67 million searches per day.

Their steady growth is impressive but I think this number should be much, much higher. If you haven’t already done so please consider switching away from Google for the vast majority of your searches on desktop, mobile, and tablet. It is very easy to do.

Why switch away from Google search? Having any one company own search is bad for a variety of reasons. And they are obviously abusing that power. Having Duck.com eat into that market share even a little will help force Google to be more honest, hopefully. Also, when you use Google they are using that information in ways that are helpful and ways that are creepy. I understand the benefits of making search results that are tailored to you – but the drawbacks outweigh the benefits.

Use Duck.com for as many searches as you can. Use Google only when Duck.com can’t find what you’re looking for. For me, that is about 1 or 2 searches per month at this point.

No, this isn’t an ad.

How to use DuckDuckGo

Brett Terpstra:

The search syntax is very similar to Google’s, so if you’re familiar with that you won’t need to learn much. Obviously you can just search a bunch of words, but there are a few additional syntaxes you can use to refine results.

Duck.com (as I like to call it now) is my search engine of choice across all browsers and devices. Brett’s guide is excellent and – once you get some of the tricks down to muscle memory – are real time savers.

I recommend you use Duck.com but also that you kindly, yet strongly, recommend that your friends and family members to do the same. You can even take the 30 seconds to switch them to Duck.com on their devices.

Mandy Pennington teaches SEO at the May 2018 NEPA Tech meet up

Mandy Pennington presents at NEPA Tech

This last month’s NEPA Tech meet up was very well attended, produced, and an all-around great time – as per usual.

I’ve seen Mandy do several presentations over the last few years and so I knew going into this we were in for an informative and fun session. SEO could be a boring, drab topic but Mandy made it fun and practical. And it appeared the other attendees agreed based on the number of questions she got after her main presentation was over.

For me personally this topic was timely as I’ve recently taken over the marketing strategy for Jujama. I have no doubt I will be constantly reviewing all of the information Mandy presented.

If you’re reading this and you haven’t yet attended a NEPA Tech meet up – I urge you to consider it. It isn’t all code (in fact, the vast majority of our meet ups have been code-less, though code shouldn’t scare you). And it isn’t all a bunch of nerdy dudes (though there are plenty of us). We want to continue to grow this community in practical and rich ways; bringing in music, the arts, culture and much more into near future meet ups. These events should be engaging and hopefully spark both inspiration and collaboration in our area. After 17 meet ups we’re on our way.

Goodbye Google Instant Search

Barry Schwartz for Search Engine Land re: Google killing Instant Search:

Now as you type, you will only see search suggestions and then be able to click on those suggestions to see the results. The search results will not load any result pages without clicking on a search suggestion or clicking enter.

As I said previously, end of an era. Pretty much everything good that Mayer brought to Google they are shooting in the head. This isn’t to say these aren’t the right decisions for Google, but they’ve certainly moved on from her approach to things – which made them the #1 search engine in the world.

 

Duck Duck Growth

Two years ago I wrote about DuckDuckGo, my search engine of choice on all devices, reaching 12M daily active searches. They are still growing. Gabriel Weinberg:

We are proud to say that at the end of last year, we surpassed a cumulative count of 10 billion anonymous searches served, with over 4 billion in 2016! We are growing faster than ever with our first 14M day on Jan 10, 2017.

I like that DDG is anonymous. But I don’t use them because I’m paranoid that Google is tracking my searches. If I cared that much I’d have to stop using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and also turn off cookies and tracking pixels and blah blah blah. In fact, I use Google Chrome and store my entire web history (and use Google to sync that across devices) so they know what my DDG searches are and the pages I click on in those results. I’m simply not that paranoid.

I use DDG because I believe monopolies aren’t good. Bing, Yahoo!, DDG, all deserve their fair shot at being better than Google at any number of things such as relevance, speed, usability, and privacy. DDG is the best way to search if you care about privacy. But they also have great features like Instant Answers and !bangs.

If you’re using Google why not give DDG or Bing a try? Maybe you’ll like them better.

PodSearch

_DavidSmith has a new side project called PodSearch. He explains:

The concept was simple. Take a few of my favorite podcasts and run them through automated speech-to-text and make the result searchable.

It works. I’m still waiting for Google to add real contextual search to video and audio. They’ve got images working well. And Pinterest has even taken that a step further. But, at some point, every bit of content should be searchable.

This reminds me of a tool I wanted to add to Viddler years ago. I described it in this blog post. I wrote:

I remember in 2008 or 2009 when I was working at Viddler I had come up with a conceptual way of pulling this off for our platform. We never fully implemented it. But I did take a swing. I still have the code.

It went something like this; every video has a certain number of keyframes in it. You can think of those keyframes as thumbnails. In fact, at Viddler we stored several of those thumbnails per video. Imagine tagging someone’s face in a video and using facial recognition on the rest of the keyframes just to mark where in that video the person was. (at the time, face.com’s API was still a thing, it could have been done for free).

Imagine if that existed? Seeing _DavidSmith’s new side project makes me want to build it.