The popularity of privacy is on an all-time high after the NSA and PRISM leaks. DuckDuckGo, a search engine focused on privacy, capitalised on this trend and now has a loyal set of customers who want their information to be private on the internet. On Tuesday, DuckDuckGo announced a set of improvements to the search engine in a bid to bring it closer to the competition - Google.
DuckDuckGo detailed the update on Tuesday, saying it has added a feature that provides instant answers for fact-based questions. For example, users searching for a particular recipe will get directed to specific recipe photo thumbnails with links aggregated from popular recipe sites around the web. A weather search for a city also provides instant weather details for a query such as "weather" followed by the city name, as Techcrunch notes. We noticed that the 'instant answers' feature can be turned off in settings.
Additionally, the DuckDuckGo search results page now features links to specific verticals, like images, video, audio, or places, depending on the type of search. For instance, if someone is searching for a particular music band the page directs the person to links, photos, video, audio and products. A few thumbnails with workable functions like playing music from SoundCloud are also added for good measure.
A place search on DuckDuckGo now displays a big map interface, with thumbnails of various eateries and other details, including name, address, phone number, and star ratings. When we checked this feature by searching for "Thai restaurants in Mumbai" it didn't throw up too many results apart from regular links.
Regular search is smarter too with the new DuckDuckGo search engine. A new 'meanings' feature breaks down ambiguous search queries breaking up search results into categories, or letting you choose a particular search filter with a click.
With this update DuckDuckGo might be getting closer to Google in terms of features but it still has a long way to go with respect to the popularity. For those who don't know, DuckDuckGo doesn't use tracking cookies and doesn't save a record of your IP address, among other things.
The search engine has also detailed the future of DuckDuckHack, an open-source instant answer platform that anyone can contribute ideas or code to. Using this platform, the community can help figure out best sources for each type of search.