DuckDuckGo is a relatively new search engine, and a wannabe competitor against Google. The search engine, which promotes itself as a “fair search” competitor to Google, has been extensively endorsed by sites like The New York Times, PCMag.com, and even on Search Engine Land, as a long-term threat to Google search dominance. It was one of the top 50 sites on TIME Magazine in 2011, and it is pretty much seen as an Internet phenomenon.
What sets DuckDuckGo apart is the claim that it doesn’t track your IP, or your search history. There are many other great features, like the ability to see official websites before Wikipedia answers, the ability to search directly on YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, etc… But this is not a search engine review.
Gabriel Weinberg, who started DuckDuckGo.com five years ago, told Reuters, in an interview this Wednesday, that it is difficult to make his DuckDuckGo the default search site in Google’s Chrome web browser, and that Google disadvantages his company in the Android mobile operating system as well.
Savvy Chrome users know that they can make any search engine the default in Chrome web browser, but DuckDuckGo founder is not happy with the steps needed to achieve this position for his site. Perhaps DuckDuckGo needs preferential Google Chrome treatment?
DuckDuckGo has a Chrome plugin that allows you to search DuckDuckGo using the browser’s context search (right-click on highlighted text); get DuckDuckGo’s instant-answers on Google and Bing results; and access the DuckDuckGo !bang tags. But the plugin doesn’t allow to search DuckDuckGo using the browser’s address bar and to search DuckDuckGo using the browser’s search bar, since Chrome’s search bar and address bar are combined.
Weinberg claims that adding this plugin to Chrome is very difficult for users:
“It’s one-click to get onto Firefox and it’s five steps on Chrome and people generally fail,” he told Reuters.
Of course, the alternative, would be to set DuckDuckGo as the default search engine for Chrome. But, Weinberg doesn’t address this alternative in front of the media, preferring to insist on the plugin, and the perceived disadvantages DuckDuckGo allegedly faces on Android mobile operating systems.
Manually setting DuckDuckGo as the default search engine for Chrome is quick, and it can be done in Google Chrome settings. By default, Google offers popular search alternatives like Yahoo!, Bing, Wikipedia, eBay and others. But if you want to add even more search alternatives to the list, you will need to click on “manage search engines” and manually add them to the list.
It’s really not that complicated, and it’s a matter of seconds to set up. No unfair treatment from Google against DuckDuckGo – any new search engine would need to go through the same process.
Saying that Google purposely harms a competitor’s search engine, in a time when the search giant is being investigated by the FTC for “using its power in the market to smother competitors”, is misleading and unfair. It’s fighting dirty – and bad PR.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our daily newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!