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Google Search is king. It has many cool features that will wow you, but it’s not your only good option when it comes to search engines.

Bing is getting better How Bing Predicts Has Become So Good How Bing Predicts Has Become So Good Time to quit your day job and start gambling via Bing Predictions? Not quite, but let's have a look at how Bing has become just so good at predicting the future. Read More . StartPage gives you Google Search results without compromising on your privacy. And then there is everyone’s favorite underdog/upstart — DuckDuckGo.

With (claims of) 100 percent private searches and a goodie bag full of tricks, DuckDuckGo has earned a loyal fan following Why This Longtime Google Fan Now Prefers DuckDuckGo Why This Longtime Google Fan Now Prefers DuckDuckGo Most of us don't remember life before Google search. Try DuckDuckGo. Learn its tricks. There could be nothing you miss about Google. Read More . It has a few unusual features that even Google doesn’t have 6 Cool DuckDuckGo Features You Won't Find On Google 6 Cool DuckDuckGo Features You Won't Find On Google In a world ruled by Google, at least where search is concerned, it’s sometimes hard to imagine a worthy alternative. DuckDuckGo is one website that is trying to offer such an alternative. If you’ve been... Read More . Let’s see how you can put those to work.

Note: We have covered how you can change your browser’s default search engine How To Change Your Browser's Default Search Engine How To Change Your Browser's Default Search Engine So, what are you searching with? Bing? Google? You might know how to use any search engine you want on the Internet, but do you know how to change the default search engine for your... Read More , in this case to DuckDuckGo.

Search Other Websites from the Address Bar

Yes, you can search the archives of different websites from the address bar in Chrome, Firefox, and other mainstream browsers. But to do that, you’ll need to set up keyword searches first — not if you have set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine. With DuckDuckGo’s awesome !bangs feature, you can jump right in and search many popular websites from the address bar.

ddg-bangs

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For example, to search MakeUseOf, type in !makeuseof (or even better, !muo) followed by your search query and hit Enter. This looks up your search keyword on MakeUseOf and displays the MakeUseOf results page.

You can search YouTube with !yt, Gmail with !gmail, Google Maps with !gm, and so on. Here’s where you can look up supported !bangs. Feeling adventurous? Submit your own !bang suggestion.

ddg-!bangs-list

If you type in the name of a well-known app or even an operating system followed by the word cheatsheet (and hit Enter, of course), you’ll get the relevant cheatsheet right there in DuckDuckGo.

ddg-cheatsheet

The name of the app/platform that you need to use is a bit tricky though. For example, typing in windows cheatsheet won’t work; you have to be specific. Use windows 10 cheatsheet to get the list of shortcuts for Windows 10. If you’re a Mac user searching for shortcuts: using osx cheatsheet gives you a list of macOS commands alright, but typing in yosemite cheatsheet or el capitan cheatsheet doesn’t work.

Using this method, I was able to find cheatsheets for Todoist, Evernote, Ubuntu, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Facebook.

Check Whether Websites Are Down

Wondering if Facebook is down for everyone else too? Ask DuckDuckGo is facebook down and get an instant answer.

ddg-is-website-down

That’s not the only useful reply from DuckDuckGo that will save you time and a few clicks. With the search engine’s Instant Answers feature, you can even generate strong passwords, expand shortened URLs, and find coupons 10 Useful DuckDuckGo Instant Answers That Save You Time & A Few Clicks 10 Useful DuckDuckGo Instant Answers That Save You Time & A Few Clicks Instant Answers is a collection of DuckDuckGo goodies that potentially make your online search life somewhat easier. Here are ten from a huge list you can try out on this alternative search engine. Read More . If this feature is not working for you, it could be because the Instant Answers button in Settings > General is not set to On.

View Color Codes

Looking up color codes one by one is no fun (hey, that rhymed). For the 256 RGB colors, you don’t have to go after one-off color codes at all. Search for color codes in DuckDuckGo and you get a chart with all the hex color codes matched up with the corresponding colors for easy identification. In short, you get this:

ddg-color-codes

Get HTML Codes As a List

Look up html chars in DuckDuckGo and you’ll get a list of the HTML codes (as well as decimal and hex codes) for various special characters. It’s way easier to copy the right codes from this section than to visit a separate website to copy them, isn’t it?

ddg-html-chars

Switch Text Case

Want a bit of text converted to lowercase? Paste it into DuckDuckGo search, prefix it with the word lowercase and a space, and hit Enter. There you have it — the lowercase version of the text, ready for you to copy-paste elsewhere.

ddg-change-case

You can replace the trigger word lowercase with uppercase or titlecase and get back the corresponding case-appropriate text.

Generate QR Codes

If you’re not familiar with the concept of QR codes or not sure where you’ll find them useful, backtrack a bit and see what QR codes are all about What Are QR Codes? Digitize Your World & Back Again What Are QR Codes? Digitize Your World & Back Again Read More and where you can use QR codes 7 Great Uses For QR Codes & How To Generate Your Own For Free 7 Great Uses For QR Codes & How To Generate Your Own For Free Quick response codes, or QR codes for short, have been used for a few years now to provide rapid access to URLs, messages or contact information. Marketing and advertising departments love QR codes, as with... Read More .

All caught up? Great! Now, about generating QR codes for any piece of information: it’s super easy with DuckDuckGo. All you have to do is type in qr, followed by, say, the website that you want to get a QR code for, and hit Enter. Handy for using that info on your phone without having to type it all out, right?

ddg-generate-qr-codes

Find App Alternatives

If you’re looking for a replacement for, say, Evernote, the quickest way to look up alternatives is via a web search or via AlternativeTo, a crowdsourced platform for app recommendations. You can combine the power of both in DuckDuckGo, like so: search for alternative to evernote. This gives you a card-like view of Evernote alternatives sourced from AlternativeTo in DuckDuckGo.

ddg-app-alternatives

More Benefits of DuckDuckGo

You can use a custom theme.

You can’t change how Google Search looks (unless you’re adding it as a search engine on your website), but you can customize the look and feel of DuckDuckGo. Go to Settings > Appearance to make that happen. If you don’t want to fiddle with fonts and color codes and such, pick a preset theme from Settings > Theme.

ddg-themes

You can turn off ads.

While Google allows you to opt out of targeted ads or control the ads you see How to Control What Ads You See on Facebook and Google How to Control What Ads You See on Facebook and Google Ads pay for the Internet. Unless an alternative is found, we have to accept them. But while we live with them, we can make these online behavioral ads more relevant to us and our interests. Read More , DuckDuckGo lets you turn them off altogether (via Settings > General > Advertisements).

No page switching required.

You can tweak Google Search settings to display more results, but you can’t get past clicking through the pages of the search results, unless you use a browser extension like AutoPagerize. Unlike Google, DuckDuckGo does the page turning for you, which means that you get search results on what seems like one continuous page.

You can read all of XKCD!

Look up xkcd in DuckDuckGo and you get the latest XKCD panel right there above the search results. Don’t miss the Previous, Next, Random, and Explain it! links to dig up more panels without leaving DuckDuckGo.

read-xkcd

(For the uninitiated: XKCD is a webcomic drawn just for geeks 10 Awesome Webcomics Drawn Just For Geeks 10 Awesome Webcomics Drawn Just For Geeks Webcomics are arguably more popular now than they ever have been before. This is mainly due to a marked increase in the quality of content, with some webcomics being both magnificently written and magnificently drawn.... Read More )

Duck, Duck, Go

As much as you love Google, if you wish we could end Google’s search monopoly Help End Google's Search Monopoly: Use Something Else Help End Google's Search Monopoly: Use Something Else We created, adopted and embraced the Internet as a platform for freedom of speech and expression – so why do we all use the same search engine predominantly? Read More , do your bit for the cause by choosing an alternative primary search engine. DuckDuckGo makes a great candidate for that job. If you use it already, see how you can use it better.

Opting for a search engine like DuckDuckGo is a small step toward ditching big business to protect your privacy Want To Ditch Big Business And Protect Your Privacy? Here's How Want To Ditch Big Business And Protect Your Privacy? Here's How Read More . Ask yourself what else you can do on that front.

If you’d rather not give up Google Search, but want the benefits of DuckDuckGo as well, set the latter as your default search engine and append !g to keywords that you’d like to look up on Google. This takes you to Google’s search results on an encrypted page via DuckDuckGo.

Don’t forget to tell us your favorite DuckDuckGo trick (and how to make it work). The lesser known the better!

  1. Ryan
    August 13, 2016 at 12:32 am

    I used to always have DDG as a wildcard search engine. You can't help but be corralled by Google and everyone else. The same with browsers.I can't remember the last time I saw that cute logo anywhere.

  2. Neelansh Mathur
    August 12, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Oh my god duckduckgo is amazing. I like the ability to create qr codes. I am adding it to my home screen on android. This was a great article, thanks for it :)

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      August 13, 2016 at 7:17 am

      Glad to hear you found both DDG and the article useful, Neelansh :)

      • Neelansh Mathur
        August 15, 2016 at 8:41 am

        It sure is!

  3. Joseph Pollock
    August 5, 2016 at 8:23 am

    I see that time range option now. Thanks.

    I tried it with "hp1020 printer driver linux" - which is a pretty old printer, so there really shouldn't be much new about it - and told it to give me results from the last day. I still got a lot of results, so the feature isn't as useful as I had hoped. However, maybe those pages all had new ad content, or something like that which makes them appear new when they're really not.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      August 13, 2016 at 7:21 am

      I think that feature's just a month or two old, Joseph. It does need some work, but at least it has made an appearance, so I'll take that as a good sign :)

  4. Joseph Pollock
    August 4, 2016 at 5:01 am

    Been using DDG for a year or two as my default search and am very happy with it.

    The only thing that brings me back to Google is the Advanced Search option that lets me select results newer than some time period.

    This is especially useful when looking for solutions to software/os issues where there may be many results that refer to problems that were fixed long ago and are no longer relevant (to me.)

    Have they added a way to do that to DDG?

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      August 5, 2016 at 2:52 am

      Joseph, DDG doesn't have that option yet i.e. selecting search results newer than some time period, but now you can filter results from the past day, week, and month. That wasn't possible before and now it is, so I'm hoping custom dates also make an appearance in the future in DDG.

  5. German DDG user
    August 1, 2016 at 9:14 am

    I use DDG as my default search engine. Sometimes I notice that its coverage of non-English content is not great. Then I add !sp to the search terms, which takes me to StartPage where I can view Google results without compromising my privacy, and without being locked into a filter bubble.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      August 3, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      Thank you for bringing that up. !sp is definitely better than using !g

  6. Catalina6
    July 31, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Love the duck. Good article. Thnx.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      August 1, 2016 at 5:05 am

      Thank you, Catalina!

  7. Gunnar
    July 30, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Somebody doesn't know how to use google. Try "site:makeuseof.com searchterm". That's been there forever, and you're late to the game.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      August 1, 2016 at 5:04 am

      "site:" works on DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, and Bing as well and not just on Google.."!muo searchterm" gives you the results on MakeUseOf...

  8. H4ve A N1ce D4y
    July 30, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Google adds the etymology to definitions, which I miss. Privacy and customisation are more important to me.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      August 1, 2016 at 5:06 am

      Yeah...Google has some great tricks of its own, but it is intrusive...

  9. AP
    July 28, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    I'd like to add 2 more things that I found useful, if you search for "public dns" it will list several so you don't need to dig the search results, another thing is if you search for "maven [keyword]" it will show the maven info (if the keyword matches any record in the database), useful if you're doing java programming.

    I've been using DDG as my default search engine for about a year or more. Hardly miss google, though I must admit sometimes google does better in finding stuffs that don't want to be found, also DDG doesn't have reverse image search yet..

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      July 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      Both great tips, AP. Thank you!

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