If ReadWriteWeb hadn’t looked at one of the newest players in the search engine game it may not have been found based on its name, Duck Duck Go. Before there is any further discussion about the merits of the engine one has to wonder why this name? Using a play on the name of an ages old kids game to represent results that are picked (I am guessing here) is a stretch at best and a brand manager’s nightmare at worst.
So what’s in a name? In this case it remains to be seen. The engine itself seems pretty cool. One feature that I found particularly useful was the ability to click on an icon and search a term on 27 other sites including Twitter, About.com, NY Times, cnet and more. On that front alone the search engine may be worth an occasional visit. Gee, I wonder what the chances of Google doing something similar?
The core results are apparently sourced for the most part from Wikipedia and Yahoo’s BOSS. While the initial reaction to the Wikipedia source was a visible cringe and an audible sigh (the accuracy factor of Wikipedia data is always a potential gotcha) the way the information is presented helps to overcome that concern (after all it is just a concern since measuring the actual accuracy is difficult). The results pages are very clean, easy to read and the results were helpful for the few searches I con-duck-ted (get it?).
The RWW article points out one of the great strengths of the engine
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.
Add in an iPhone app and the ability to add the engine to the Firefox toolbar and I am a convert of sorts. Of course, the question always comes back to how can another search engine survive with Google being the 800 pound gorilla in the space. Since there are a ridiculous amount of people using search to get around the Internet it may not take a big percentage of overall users to make the business go.
One nagging question that seems to be popping up a lot lately regarding Internet business is that annoying need to know how they plan to make money. While that is not readily apparent some quick information is that the company is based in Valley Forge, PA and its founder is Gabriel Weinberg. It may be worth keeping an eye on this entry into an already crowded field. Having options usually is a good thing especially when the other major search engine options outside of Google are more well known for their questionable business moves than actually doing search.