Wednesday, 27 March 2013

duckduckgo

I've decided that i'll be giving duckduckgo a 'go' for a while for my search.

I've been an extremely heavy user of google's search for many years, and it is an indispensible tool for saving time. But i'm getting sick of it trying to be 'smarter than me' - I pretty much have to manually tell it to do a verbatim search every fucking time I search for anything technical (i.e. almost every search) which makes every new search that bit more tedious and frustrating than it already is. And given their spate of recent prunings who knows how long that will even last.

And just in the last couple of days they seem to have fucked around with it even more: i get 4-5 results and then a 'similar searches' section, which I do not find useful whatsoever. Sadly I often find searches I do pointing back to my own posts or code, which indicates to me that perhaps I really am a beautiful and unique snowflake after-all, and subsequently knowing what is "popular" isn't terribly useful to me.

Targetted search based on seeker popularity by default really seems a pretty strange feature unless you're writing a search engine for pop-culture or a shop (insight: oh hang on, that must be exactly what they are doing! silly me). Searches should first be for facts, not for reinforcing currently popular interests or fasionable trends. I already felt extremely uncomfortable with the fact that google search was customising results at all, but this is so much worse. If you went to a researcher and asked for detail on a topic, would you want them to take into account both your appearance and other customer's desires when they fulfilled the request, or would you prefer an unbiased, objective collection of all available information?

I guess those of us working niche fields or with niche interestes are going to have to get used to the fact that we are simply not enough of a product-base for Google to care about (remembering we are the product). They don't really care if they lose us because their customers don't really care if google loses us. Based on "The story so far", I think we can expect to see more of a mainstream/pop/fashion based focus to their products, which is very sad turn of events. With the closing down of various networked services, we're also going to start to lose trust in their long-term commitment to some of them. Surely blogger will not live outside of Google+ for much longer (tbh, not sure i care, so long as google+ is linkable and crawlable by any other search engine), and what about google code?

I also finally worked out one major reason why firefox was constantly using a good chunk of cpu time: apart from adverts and other annoyingly pointless crap, the main culprit was simply the google search results page. Which I find quite baffling because there are no visually moving parts whatsoever. I really wish firefox would simple disable javascript on tabs you're not currently looking at, because all it does is let crappy web page coders make firefox look like a bloated piece of shit, even if it isn't really.

Duckduckgo is certainly more concise, perhaps overly so to the point of missing relavant information, so it may not fullfill my requirements. A search for jjmpeg only finds 1 post from this blog for instance, and I often prefer to see multiple in-site references (perhaps it is an option: at this point i've used it only a few times). But i'll see how it goes, my search needs vary depending on what i'm doing. I just wish it paged the results using numbers mind you, I'm using the html version since the infinitely scrolling "Web 2.1.x(tm)" page completely sucks: as they all do.

3 comments:

Ahmet A. Akın said...

For what it's worth, duckDuckGo is just Bing with some privacy features and usability tricks.

NotZed said...

Well I guess using google or microsoft electricity doesn't make much difference to me. It's more of a protest against google, and i might even try bing anyway.

Already I've had to fall back to google a bit, it's habit of only showing one page per site is pretty unusable for things like api documentation where there are multiple versions.

crazedpsyc said...

"duckDuckGo is just Bing" -- this is not true. A lot of nonsense was spread about that a while back, but it is just that: nonsense. Bing is one of >50 sources including DDG's own index.