Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

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Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby Moonchild » Tue, 11 Mar 2014, 05:35

Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Since several people have asked this question, and I expect more people will, I'll highlight the most important reasons for changing the default search engine to DuckDuckGo in Pale Moon 24.4 and later:

  • Unbiased search results: With the previous default search provider (Google), the results of your search would be biased based on who you are: your geographical location, your search history (yes, Google keeps a history of everything you ever searched for), ads you have clicked on and tracked sites you have visited. Although it's marketed as "providing you with more relevant results" I think this kind of bias is bad. It will show you more of the same stuff you already like and know and have searched for before. If you use a search engine, how often do you want to look up the same thing or want to be given the same kind of results? It would be the bane for any actual research you are doing.
  • No profiling: As said above, Google keeps a history of your search results. Don't believe me? go have a look yourself here: https://history.google.com/history/
    This kind of recorded history helps Google with building user profiles, which in turn can be used commercially. Based on your past results you may even be shown completely different providers for goods and services (in different price brackets) because you fall in a certain group of people, for example. Not to mention that aggregated data from user searches can also be sold to interested parties. And I think most people didn't even know this kind of (very personal!) data was being collected.
  • Privacy-aware search provider: DuckDuckGo is privacy-aware. They make efforts to not track you and not store any sort of data (well they do, briefly, for normal search engine operations, but it's being immediately thrown away when no longer needed). While there are other, similar search providers with the same privacy goals, I've chosen (a while back already) to include DuckDuckGo in Pale Moon for providing a current-day, complete package with relevant results based on proven technology.
  • You are in control: Through the DuckDuckGo settings page, you can fine-tune search results for your (or a specifically desired!) region if you so wish, or keep searching globally. This is especially important if your public IP doesn't necessarily reflect your actual location. The provider even makes it possible to do it by passing parameters in the URL so if you absolutely hate browser cookies to store your personal preferences, you don't have to.
  • Technical issues with Google: Google search results pages have started giving issues for Pale Moon users (when they would use the "back" button in their browser, for example, instead of the navigation controls on the page) making it an annoyance to use. It would make sense therefore to make a different provider the default.
  • No need to further support Mozilla: The Mozilla Corporation, through their contract with Google as the search provider, benefits financially from every Google search result performed from a Firefox browser (where do you think the ad revenue share goes to when you search from the search box or about:home in Firefox...?) Apart from a very large revenue stream that they already have (officially non-profit, but that doesn't mean they don't make any money...) and IMO not needing any more to add to that through a third-party browser, they have displayed a lot of undesired behavior in their recent developments of Firefox (e.g. removal of useful features) and plans for the future (e.g. making the browser adware and in turn displaying greed of the first order), and I no longer want to have them benefit (financially) from my browser out-of-the-box through searches, out of principle.
  • In-result detailed information: DutckDuckGo has a very useful feature that displays essential information about your search results in a box at the top, providing you often with a basic answer to your query without even having to visit the sites. I think this is an absolutely invaluable feature of the provider, which in its own right already keeps you safer (especially when researching dodgy material) and more private.

Keep in mind that the list of search providers has not changed, and it takes one click to switch your choice back to Google if you want. Simply use the drop-down in your search box to select Google and it will automatically change the search provider back to Google in all locations (search box, address bar and about:home if you use that).

More reading material:
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

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Art_of_Winning

Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby Art_of_Winning » Wed, 12 Mar 2014, 05:24

Although I understand why some prefer the better privacy of DuckDuckGo, the reality is that a vast majority of the population uses Google over any other search engine. Privacy-based services, even ixquick and startpage, have not gathered a very large number of users. As far as unique searchers are concerned, 76.6% used Google as of 12/12, and DuckDuckGo unlikely has more than 1%.

The reality of the decision to switch default search providers is that a vast majority of users need to switch from DuckDuckGo to Google, thus requiring an additional step for all except the small percentage of people that actually use DuckDuckGo. The philosophy that people should use the "better" service actually just makes it more difficult for people who use your software. I have actually known about DuckDuckGo for many years and still prefer Google.

Overall, this change will just require the majority of your users to simply change the default back to Google. Although you may think that DuckDuckGo is superior, the majority of users believe otherwise. I would have actually preferred to hear that the switch in default providers was based on you making additional revenue to know that we can support you in an indirect way (my opinion) instead of using your power as the developer to make the change for everyone when the majority would prefer the status quo.

EDIT: Again, I am not against the change, and it takes essentially no time to change it back. I am just saying that the majority of people will need to change it back because that's just what the majority of people use as their search engine.
Last edited by Art_of_Winning on Wed, 12 Mar 2014, 20:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby Moonchild » Wed, 12 Mar 2014, 11:27

Whenever changes are made, there will be resistance from some.

I just hope that people take the time to understand why I decided to make this change, based on the short summary of the (non-exhaustive) list of points above. My opinion is that switching to DDG is advantageous for the user in multiple respects, and as such should be seen as improving people's browsing experience. Sure, people may be used to Google and wishing to continue using it, and that is their prerogative. If that means they now have to make an explicit choice to do so (taking 1 second) doesn't mean Pale Moon has somehow lost any of its value for users or has somehow become "more difficult to use" - choosing the search provider only has to be done once and will be remembered across upgrades. Consider, also, the many other browsers that offer DDG as a search option (a number of them also as default) in e.g. Linux operating systems.

As an aside, using DDG from within Pale Moon does provide indirect support for Pale Moon development, through a revenue share on the ads DDG displays along with the search results; so if you wish to use DDG out of a sense of wanting to contribute that way, it's a valid consideration (and appreciated!).
It can even be chosen out of principle if for no other reason than making a statement towards Mozilla that they don't deserve the income from Google searches from within the browser when using Pale Moon (since apart from the Pale Moon start page's "Web Search", any Google searches will financially benefit the Mozilla corporation from their contracted Google search). I realized I already highlighted this in the original post :P
Financial factors have not been in any way decisive for this change, though; just to be clear on that.
Last edited by Moonchild on Wed, 12 Mar 2014, 17:16, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Being redundant :P
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

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JBGood

Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby JBGood » Wed, 12 Mar 2014, 12:07

Practically speaking it takes indeed one second and perhaps 1/1000 of brain potential to switch to another default search engine. Nothing complicated, no about:config, one second, 1, and my grand-ma would have it done.

For the principle,

- Once there is a default value in the scheme the choice is always that of someone to start with and as such is not misleading but leads. Having Google as default search engine is, in this perspective, as leading as having another search engine on the top row. Liberty is in the easiness of switching, and the developer's liberty could even be stated as not a true choice since there must be a default !

- So, here we are with an easily changeable search engine. The developer made a choice, as any developer does. Mozilla chose Google, then they moved to Bing at one time, then reverted to Google : Wow! was it for the user's benefit? No way. Here at least choosing DuckDuckGo is, IMO, an honest move guided by a sense of healthy web browsing.
- A choice guided by a majority of users or guided by one's conscience ? The whole system is based on the snowball effect and if you wish to strive to be not a sheep well... you have to start thinking by yourself and not establishing truth on what a majority expects. Democracy is in the choice availability, not in anticipating that choice.

Therefore, this move to DuckDuckGo is, IMO, wise, smart, honest. But, again, perfection is not of this world, search engines included. Also, there is matter worth being read in the expose here above concerning that choice. Pertinent.

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Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby Night Wing » Wed, 12 Mar 2014, 12:33

JBGood wrote:Practically speaking it takes indeed one second and perhaps 1/1000 of brain potential to switch to another default search engine. Nothing complicated, no about:config, one second, 1, and my grand-ma would have it done.


I agree. I think the complaint is "frivolous" due to the amount of time it takes to make the switch back to Google if this is what is wanted.
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Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby jumba » Wed, 12 Mar 2014, 15:16

If everything that majority of people are using should be the default, then by the same way, Pale Moon shouldn't have a button to add it as a "default" browser, because majority of people aren't using it! ;)

I think it was a good change too! Some variety to the search engines, people! Google dominates the search engine market anyway, and monopoly isn't good! :thumbdown:

Some aspects make DDG more advanced than google too, like
!bangs great for a default search engine, because with the one engine all hundreds of other engines are accessible from it. works from anywhere address/search bar.
instant definitions (or what ever they are called) shows a lot more information than google does, and mostly google "info" is more ads to the user.
+ the privacy, even though some people seems not to care about it these days! :)
Last edited by jumba on Wed, 12 Mar 2014, 17:04, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby megaman » Wed, 12 Mar 2014, 15:17

He's right, the marketshare is higher for Google.
He's not on en-par, he dictates that we have to keep it Google as default.

I use Bing, so I would be a bit offended.
Also, on Windows Phones, most of these browser developers make Google default as well, that's blasphemy, when Bing should be default.
Some don't even have options for another search engine, now that's where I draw the line and start a flame war.

Keep in mind, that DDG is there but you still have options to change it to whatever you want. (As everyone has said)
There are also extensions if you still want to use Google and not be tracked much. (I use one for YouTube)
Last edited by Moonchild on Wed, 12 Mar 2014, 17:03, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Keeping the FAQ comments as neutral as possible.
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Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby Blacklab » Thu, 13 Mar 2014, 12:13

Longtime fan of DDG and have used it as my main search engine for years. :D It keeps getting better and the brute force of the Google's data mining monster is just a click away if you feel you need it. DDG's forum and help is great too. :thumbup: Now where else do you get that sort of personal assistance? :lol:

Moonchild put up DDG's "don't bubble us" guide to the Filter Bubble effect http://dontbubble.us/ in his further reading list at the bottom of the FAQ. I would also like to recommend the "Beware the Filter Bubble" TED talk (9 minute video) given by Eli Pariser (author of the book "The Filter Bubble") in front of many of the internet's movers and shakers at TED in 2011: http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_be ... er_bubbles :)

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Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby helloimustbegoing » Thu, 13 Mar 2014, 23:13

I for one am glad it was changed. Anything is better than Google. Google IS evil. Rant Warning: I absolutely can't stand it when I hear the phrase "Google it," as if Google is the only search engine in the Internet world.

Sablesword

Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby Sablesword » Wed, 19 Mar 2014, 06:25

I don't like it, so I changed it back to google. In my case I did have to go into about:config to make the change because I do not show the search bar in any of my tool bars - I normally search via a right-click context menu.

I would have prefered more warning that the upgrade changed the default search engine. Not giving that warning does seem mildly rude.

The question I think is important: Will future upgrades respect user-modified settings wrt the default search engine? Having to change the default back to google every time after an update would strike me as being more than just mildly rude.

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Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby Moonchild » Wed, 19 Mar 2014, 12:13

Sablesword wrote:The question I think is important: Will future upgrades respect user-modified settings wrt the default search engine? Having to change the default back to google every time after an update would strike me as being more than just mildly rude.


Pale Moon will not touch user-defined settings. Once you've made a specific choice, it will remember and use it, no matter how many times you update.

Keep in mind: You did not make a choice before so submitted yourself to whatever was the program's default choice (In case of Mozilla-based browsers that is Google). Just because the previous default aligned with your personal choice doesn't automatically make a change in recommendation or default "rude".

Maybe people don't exactly understand what a default setting is, so a simple definition here:
Default settings

When talking about settings of a program, the default settings are the settings chosen by the software developer and not the user. For example, when opening Microsoft Word the default font setting is a font size of 11.

Source: http://www.computerhope.com/jargon/d/default.htm

Keywords there being "settings chosen by the developer". As long as you use default settings in a program, your settings will follow along with any developer-made choices when the program is updated. That is normal practice, and there is no reason to paint it black.

Now, that is about as clear as I can make it, and if anyone still thinks it was somehow untoward of me, then they are free to switch to another piece of software that comes "out of the box" with all of their favorite default settings that developers will never change (good luck with that). 8-)
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Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby Night Wing » Wed, 19 Mar 2014, 12:56

Sablesword wrote:I would have prefered more warning that the upgrade changed the default search engine. Not giving that warning does seem mildly rude.


The change to DDG for the default search engine was given in the Release Notes on the Pale Moon Home Page. It's under "Fixes/Changes" dated (2014-03-10).. The link for these Release notes for version 24.4.0 is below.

http://www.palemoon.org/releasenotes-ng.shtml

But some people, like yourself, don't read Release Notes for versions of the browsers they choose to update to. They just blindly update manually or keep the automatic updates turned on and then get an unwelcome surprise when things change. Then they come on here to complain........which I find "rude".
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Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby alan9182 » Wed, 19 Mar 2014, 20:23

Can DuckDuckGo be configured for a "Start Page Experience" ?

I quite like the Google capability which is preserved in Start Page
that I am told how many results were found for my search phrase.

From the number of results I can immediately recognize if my search is :-
too general with too many pages of useless results ;
or invalid due to my spelling, or too specific and unlikely to include relevant results similar to my query.

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Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby Moonchild » Thu, 20 Mar 2014, 00:48

Night Wing wrote:The change to DDG for the default search engine was given in the Release Notes on the Pale Moon Home Page.

Not just that, I took the time to write the very post this topic started with to try and explain why I changed the default. Strictly speaking I didn't even have to do that.
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

"If you want to build a better world for yourself, you have to be willing to build one for everybody." -- Coyote Osborne

Take note: 23 November is Wolfenoot! Eat roast meat and/or cake decorated like the full moon. #wolfenoot

dark_moon

Re: Why was the default search changed to DuckDuckGo?

Unread postby dark_moon » Thu, 20 Mar 2014, 07:24

I would say you close this thread, since all is explained.
We have a FAQ and the changelog.


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