I’ve been playing with the search engine Duck Duck Go this month. You seen it?
Stripped down, minimalist, promising not to remember your search history, tailor its findings based on your previous searches, or target you with pesky advertising.
The blurb about how it works – and why – is intriguing. Ever thought about livening up dinner parties by comparing your search for, say, ‘New Zealand’ with someone else’s, using Google? What does it throw up for you? Is it the same for your mate?
And how do you feel about giving away all that information? Duck Duck Go explains why they don’t track you or won’t bubble you – and why we should care. In fact, check out their reasons just for the simple, graphic layout and clarity.
I took a stand and decided to ditch Google for a while and try a fresh path. I lasted a day.
Because Duck Duck Go, for all its free, interesting content, didn’t always give me what I wanted. Grrr, darn it, Google, you got me. And I guess there’ll be days when I’ll just have to resist the advertising, and sell my soul, in favour of the free, tailored service.
Having said that, it’s worth breaking out of the bubble to use a range of search engines, especially ones like Duck Duck Go, to get more than one (echo chamber-like) response to research. Could this be a new aspect to being digitally literate, I wonder….?
Because, after all, if we only ever get items from our own perspectives, how can we understand views from the wider world around us? As Nancy White pointed out:
“If we can connect in some tiny way with a human that doesn’t agree with us, then maybe we won’t blow up the planet.”