Although privacy remains its main feature, DuckDuckGo is a search engine that offers a myriad of features, many of which not even available on Google or Bing, aimed at improving the search experience. In this article, we will delve into five features that make this search engine a choice not to be underestimated.
1. With “!bangs” to limit search results to a website
I “bang” act as Quick shortcuts for searching specific websites and services. Essentially, they eliminate the need to leave the DuckDuckGo ecosystem to instantly search a particular website.
To invoke a “!bang”, you have to type the exclamation point and gradually the name of the website into the search box, which triggers the appearance of a list of available bangs. In October 2023 there will be more more than 13,564 and in case a bang does not exist, you can suggest DuckDuckGo to add it.
One of the most useful uses of “bangs” is as a quick exit point to an established search engine like Google (!g) o Bing (!b) when DuckDuckGo results are not satisfactory. You can ask in-depth questions about Wolfram Alpha (!wa) or find iPhone apps on the App Store (!appstore). There’s also a “!bang” for Wikipedia (!w).
But they can also be used to search for products on Amazon (!a) o eBay (!ebay)look at restaurant reviews on Yelp (!yelp) or scour social media via Twitter (!twitter) o Returns (!returns)
Once you have entered the “bang” just ask the search query. So, for example, to search for hair clips on Amazon we could use the string:
!to hair clips
It’s a feature that saves time but when you employ the “!bang” in your search, you are opting out of DuckDuckGo’s privacy policies in favor of the website you land on. And that includes data collection practices and third-party trackers.
To get a list of results contained in specific websites or services directly in DuckDuckGo, you can use the search operator “site:” so as to limit the search to the site indicated after the colon.
2. DuckDuckGo’s instant responses
In addition to providing a collection of search-relevant web pages, DuckDuckGo boasts a repertoire of Instant answers for a variety of queries resulting from over a hundred sources and which are presented in a window just above the classic list of results.
These Instant Answer they allow you to perform mathematical calculations, use a stopwatch or consult the calendar, find words that rhyme or verified factual information. But they also offer the ability to invent strong passwords, decipher anagrams, shorten or lengthen URLs, and even manipulate the capitalization of a block of text.
Furthermore, this feature extends its effectiveness by becoming the troubleshooting tool, informing about the downtime of a website, facilitating loan calculations, producing QR codes and providing thoughtful alternatives to software and services.
3. The free email protection service
The function DuckDuckGo Email Protection repels trackers that sneakily hide in emails. To unlock its potential, installing the official DuckDuckGo app or its browser extension is required. Once this is done, you can sign up for a free email forwarding service @duck.com which receives mail on our behalf, deletes the trackers and then forwards them to a mailbox of our choice.
But in addition to preventing tracking, DuckDuckGo Email Protection extends its shield by allowing create ephemeral and random aliases to share with potentially spam-prone or untrustworthy websites, similar to Apple’s “Hide My Email”. Emails sent to these aliases are also removed from trackers and then forwarded to the main domain. The flexibility to create distinct aliases for various online entities provides a personalized defense strategyand the ability to deactivate them individually if you start receiving spam.
The address @duck.com can also work as hidden channel for replying to emails, in cases where you do not want to reveal your personal email address to the recipient. In line with DuckDuckGo’s commitment to privacy, the company ensures that none of your emails will be stored in their databases, other than aliases and primary email IDs.
4. No to app tracking on Android
L’App Tracking Protection is another feature that helps improve privacy on DuckDuckGo. In exclusive for Androidcan curb the constant spying carried out by third-party trackers in your phone apps.
Most come from advertising giants like Google and Taboola, social media titans like Facebook and Twitter, and analytics giants like Adobe. Entities that clandestinely accumulate a variety of sensitive information, including geographic coordinates, email address, contact numbers, time zone, and device fingerprints, all to build a profile that facilitates targeted advertising.
Unfortunately, parts of this data can sometimes fall into the hands of data brokers, further amplifying privacy concerns. To harness the power of App Tracking Protection, you need to install the DuckDuckGo app for Android on your device, go to the app settings and the “More from DuckDuckGo” activate the function.
This sets up a sort of VPN connection (Virtual Private Network), dedicated to monitoring data traffic coming from apps. With the promise that none of this data will be transmitted to DuckDuckGo servers. Once the feature kicks in, you will get them constant updates on tracker list successfully countered, including what information was targeted and which apps it was stolen from.
5. I cheatsheet di DuckDuckGo
I cheatsheet, while somewhat hidden in DuckDuckGo’s treasure trove of features, have the power to significantly increase productivity. Often overlooked, in reality, they help to discover the Keyboard shortcuts for the most popular apps and acquire the basic knowledge of programming languages most used.
The process is simple: add “cheatsheet” to your query for a specific application, programming language, or service, and DuckDuckGo will promptly reveal a wealth of information, including commonly used shortcuts or search term basics.
For example, searching for a cheatsheet di Chrome exposes a snippet of useful web browser keyboard shortcuts, while a search for cheatsheet per C++ returns the fundamentals of that programming language. Additionally, a convenient link right below the cheatsheet will lead to a more in-depth exploration of your chosen topic.
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