The search engine market is obviously dominated by a small number of big players, but that doesn’t mean that small companies with interesting ideas can’t still get at least a small slice of this market. One of these services is Duck Duck Go, which has a rather silly name, but turns out to be a pretty interesting search engine. Duck Duck Go aims to get its users to their desired destinations in as few clicks as possible. Instead of long lists of results, Duck Duck Go simply tries to return the most relevant links about a given topic.
Whenever you do a search on Duck Duck Go, the service will try to bring up the most ‘official‘ page first, and if the search terms has a Wikipedia page, it will also include a short blurb from Wikipedia, as well as related search terms in a box at the top of the page.
Judging from the results we have seen, it seems like Duck Duck Go actually gets a lot of its information from Wikipedia, though it also uses Yahoo’s BOSS service to provide users with standard search results when the service can’t find better information on Wikipedia.
Duck Duck Go also does a great job at providing users with options for disambiguation, which also look like they are based on Wikipedia’s disambiguation pages. If you search for “Berlin,” for example, Duck Duck Go will ask you if you are looking for the German capital, an album from Lou Reed, or a town in Connecticut.
Firefox Toolbar and iPhone App
Duck Duck Go also has a Firefox toolbar, which just came out of beta today, and the company boasts that this toolbar can prevent users from going to over 44 million spam or parked domains (based on a list maintained by the Parked Domains Project).
We like the simplicity of the service, and the company’s focus on getting users to results quickly by mashing up data from Yahoo and Wikipedia works well for most search terms. In many ways, it actually feels a bit like an automated version of Mahalo. Of course, Duck Duck Go’s name might not exactly help it gain mainstream traction, but other search engines before it also had seemingly silly names and they did quite well in the marketplace.