I’m going through a process of degooglification these months / years. I’ve been one of the early adopters of Google and its products in the days when many of my friends didn’t even heard about Google or weren’t using computers at all. And when Yahoo search was powered by Google (poor Yahoo – if they only knew).
But enough is enough. Google become a company that i don’t like anymore, a company which claims to embrace open source but does so just to lock you in in their network where the rules are set by them and from where you will have a hard time leaving. And then later when something doesn’t serve anymore their interest they just shut it down like they did with Google Reader (to force you to use Google+). Also there is the issue of Google starting to fundamentally break the internet by spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) regarding the hyperlink – the fundamental element of what makes the internet work as it does.
Many people claim there’s nothing wrong with that, i will explain maybe in a future post why it’s not a very bright idea to give all your data to one single entity which controls it and uses it as it wishes or as it is told by authorities. Now it’s late and the subject is an other one.
Anyway, my degooglification process is going on for almost a year now and i managed to avoid using most of Google’s products by using alternatives. In a recent move when i’ve upgraded my laptop to Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr i did one of the painful moves by abandoning Google Chrome in favor of Firefox. Another move was that my new Asus Transformer tablet runs on Windows 8.1 instead of Android. I will get rid of my Android phone too when my current contract ends.
But that is nothing compared to abandoning Google Search. That is one hard endeavour. The hardest item in my degooglification process.
But more or less I’m Google Search free for a time now. From time to time i still use Google to cross check results or see differences between search engines. But most of the time my search engine of choice is DuckDuckGo, an independent search engine which uses data from many sources (including Bing, Yandex, Wolfram Alpha and Yahoo). Yeah, the name might sound funny at first but one gets used to it. It comes from a children’s game named Duck, duck, goose.
There are three important aspects which made me choose this search engine despite its name. First of all it doesn’t track you , secondly it keeps you free of the filter bubble and of course the third is that it’s not Google behind it.
Everything started from a 30 day challenge of mine back in 2012. At first it was hard. The results weren’t always satisfactory. But hey improved over time. These days DuckDuckGo underwent a major overhaul and now there is a lot more information on it and different ways to present information:
It can identify different meanings of a word : https://duckduckgo.com/?q=moon
It can offer information about places: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=cluj+napoca&t=canonical
Or can show a map: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=cluj+napoca+map
Currency conversion : https://duckduckgo.com/?q=300+usd+in+eur
And many more: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=how+far+is+the+moon
Overall i think it matches Google’s accuracy and i can find anything by using just DuckDuckGo. I suggest anyone to try it out, see the differences between Google’s results and DuckDuckGo’s results and see if you’re trapped in the filter bubble or not.