DuckDuckGo!

There are many good reasons to have a good dose of paranoia about what Google knows about your online habits. For me, it’s enough that its creepy. I really don’t care to have their servers guessing about my demographics and tailoring ads for me. Creepy.

If you are getting a service for free, you aren’t the customer, you are the product.

-Me (and surely lots of other, smarter people)

So, as part of the effort to avoid the increasing creepiness of Google search results, I’ve started using DuckDuckGo almost exclusively as my search provider. I’ve got a handy ‘DDG’ bookmark so I can get to it quickly in Mobile Safari (saving a bookmark to the Home Screen makes it a WebApp rather than just opening the page in Safari, unfortunately.) and I’ve hacked my hosts file so the search bar in Desktop Safari uses DuckDuckGo for results now. If you’d rather not dive into Terminal.app and start hacking away you can easily install a DDG toolbar — Click ‘Safari’ at the bottom of the DDG homepage and follow the instructions for the toolbar.

And, as you can see from this screenshot, DuckDuckGo is fully supported in my favorite, free, quicklaunch app, Alfred:

DuckDuckGo works great. I’ve never had to go much past the first two or three results. They also have what they call !bang keywords to let you search other sites directly, like !wiki for Wikipedia, !amazon for Amazon.com, and one I use way too often, !df to search DaringFireball.net. There are lots of other search ‘goodies’ as well.

Give it a shot. It’s a nice alternative to Google without all of the creepiness.

Some Relevant Links: