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DuckDuckGo vs Google: Which One Should You Use?

DuckDuckGo is a relatively new player in the search engine world, but it’s already become quite popular.

DuckDuckGo is a much smaller site than Google, but does it do enough to compete?

Let’s take a look.

The Importance of Online Security

Thanks to Edward Snowden’s revelations about just how badly people were being spied upon, people have become much more security conscious.

One of the reasons people use DuckDuckGo rather than Google is that it does not track people when they are online. Google makes money by collecting people’s information and selling it to third-party companies, so people want to avoid it whenever possible.

People who use DuckDuckGo feel that they can search online without having their information logged and sold.

This contrasts directly with Google, which tracks people’s searches and stores people’s personal information, which has led people to become more concerned about their online security and privacy. For example, a simple people search on DuckDuckGo will not submit people’s information to third-party sites.

What Is DuckDuckGo?

According to the official DuckDuckGo website, “We are an Internet privacy company that empowers you to seamlessly take control of your personal information online, without any trade-offs. We started the DuckDuckGo search engine in 2008 to make searching faster, less complicated, and more helpful for everyone.”

In short, they’re a simple but powerful search engine that doesn’t track your information or use targeted ads to deliver results.

DuckDuckGo Advantages

Since DuckDuckGo is a smaller search engine than Google, it doesn’t have nearly the same collection of features.

However, there are still some great advantages to using DuckDuckGo:

  • No Personalized Results: One of the biggest problems with Google is that you get personalized results based on your information and location. So, someone in France can see search results for something that someone in America won’t. DuckDuckGo is a completely anonymous search engine, so it doesn’t track your information or use location to deliver personalized results
  • Two Words Instead of Three: Google recently started using three words instead of two, which has resulted in much less accurate results. Both DuckDuckGo and Yahoo still use two words
  • More Privacy Protection: DuckDuckGo uses SSL encryption by default whenever you connect to their website. They also don’t store any personal information in cookies, so even if someone got access to the server, there would be nothing there.

DuckDuckGo Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage of DuckDuckGo right now is that its database of search results is smaller than Google.

There are also a few minor disadvantages:

  • No Extensions or Plug-ins: You can’t install extensions like you can with Firefox and Chrome, which limits DuckDuckGo’s utility as a browser replacement.
  • Smaller Database: Since DuckDuckGo is a smaller search engine, it doesn’t always have the same number of results you’ll find with Google.
  • No Instant Answers: With places like Amazon and Wikipedia, you can get instant answers without having to click a link. That’s not available with DuckDuckGo.

What Is Google?

Google is an Internet titan. According to Wikipedia, “Google began in 1994 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both Ph.D. students at Stanford University in California.” Today it’s the largest search engine on the web, with ’90s-style graphics that haven’t changed much since then.

Google Advantages

There are several reasons to use Google:

  • Instant Answers: A simple query like “Who lives in the White House?” brings up an instant answer, which means you don’t have to click anywhere. This makes Google great for simple queries and saves time.
  • Huge Database: Even though DuckDuckGo has more privacy protection, Google still has a larger database of search results.
  • Much Larger Feature Set: Google is great for finding images, videos, news articles, maps, directions, calendars, and much more. This makes it the best tool for looking up anything you can think of.

Google Disadvantages

The biggest problem with Google isn’t even Google’s fault—it’s the user. There are a lot of people who think that Google is completely anonymous and don’t realize that it tracks their information, specifically with Gmail.

At the same time, these users bring up other disadvantages to Google:

  • Ads Everywhere: When you search for “Facebook,” ads for Facebook appear before your first result, which is annoying.
  • Targeted Ads: Google uses your information to serve targeted ads throughout the search engine. DuckDuckGo doesn’t track anything but instead serves universal ads that are based on things like keyword relevancy and user location.
  • Personally Identifiable Information: If you use Gmail, Google knows exactly who you are. It’s the same with your YouTube account, Google+ profile, and any other Google-based service that you use.

DuckDuckGo vs Google: Which One Should You Use?

So, which one should you use? As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

  • If you want better privacy protection and don’t mind using an anonymized search engine, DuckDuckGo is the way to go.
  • If you want more results, a larger database of information (especially images), and more features (such as instant answers and extensions), you should use Google.


At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide which search engine is best for your needs. In most cases, Google is the best option unless you have a specific reason not to use it.

However, DuckDuckGo has made a name for itself as a more private alternative that’s slowly bringing in more users. It might just be a matter of time before it catches up to Google.