Evidently they have gained many users over the past few months, as Google tweaks around with its web search functionality. DuckDuckGo and Blekko like to make it clear that they are spam-free, have less clutter, oh, and they like mentioning privacy and avoiding personalization too.
DuckDuckGo “does not collect or share personal information”, while Blekko Superprivacy setting “prevents click tracking data from being collected by blekko.com and ensures that no session information is kept regarding your activities on blekko.com.”
Now, I wonder why they’re so keen to stress these aspects? Oh yes, now I remember why – there’s a general feeling that Google pays little attention to a Google-user’s privacy these days, while having gone hyper-personalized in the variety of results that it delivers to each user. An article in Technology Review describes it quite neatly, quoting Rich Skrenta, Blekko’s founder and CEO as saying “It’s kind of like if we all read a different version of the New York Times every morning” – and presumably without asking us if we actually do want to do that.
However, let’s not dismiss Google out of hand. The important thing is to be aware of what Google does, that it tracks and twiddles around with your search results. As mentioned previously, Karen Blakeman’s Blog post can tell you where to find that hidden, little button to turn off personalized settings and Google is still very useful in many ways.
I just feel much happier knowing that there are some proper alternatives gaining ground.