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I'm developing software and I don't Google any more.

jaimelr profile image Jaime LR Updated on ・3 min read

Bet you that someone have told you "Google it" when in doubt about a library method, an error message in command line or bug when you are developing software. I'm pretty sure that you probably found the solution after quite a few clicks and that this solution was definitely on StackOverflow. This seems to be a common task of Software Engineers and even more of apprentices like me.

You found yourself spending a significant amount of time looking for the Angular filter you need to get the desired data, not to say fit that HTML element in the right place using CSS or find alternatives methods that you used once and now are no longer supported by your Node/Rails/React application.

Since I am just starting in developing software I do spent quite a few time doing this task, so I needed a way to find the right answers ASAP to be able to improve my development workflow and for a long time I thought that Googling my questions was in fact the fastest way of doing so.

Fortunately a beautiful morning (so to say) I discovered DuckDuckGo and everything changed.

DuckDuckGoLogo
DuckDuckGo is a powerful search engine focused on privacy, they don't store your personal information or track you for advertising purposes which is specially useful when you do not want Google to know that time when you searched for a very strange "Despacito" remix or also when you do not want to be overwhelmed with ads about cooking recipes just because your mom asks you once to find her something interesting to eat.

An amazing privacy first tool, but I thought that we were talking about software development workflow improvement?

Quite true! But since DuckDuckGo do not use advertising (with your personal information) for funding I feel like it is our responsibility as users to spread the word and let others know about this amazing tool.

But enough marketing for a moment. Let's get to the point: I used DuckDuckGo because when writing specific (and sometimes not so specific) questions like how to create a post request in express I get the answer right immediately on DuckDuckGo's results' page. Like this:

DuckDuckGo search result

When I Google the same question this is what I get:
Google search result

Both answers are from StackOverflow, in fact it is the same question their pointing to, but there's a huge difference between how they are displayed, in Google you have to click the link and it will redirect you to StackOverflow site you have to wait the site to load and then scroll to the question while in DuckDuckGo you just have to read the answer there and if necessary copy and paste the code without clicking on any link.

So I read all this post just for saving me a click and a scroll?

Yes! You did it. It might seem stupid if you look at it barely but if you think about the time you spent waiting for the entire StackOverflow page to load and scrolling to the answer which might be from 4-5 seconds depending on your internet connection and then you multiply that for the number of times you Google some question about software development, then it probably doesn't seem that bad.

Also, sometimes you need to know more about the StackOverflow answer that is being provided so you have to click the link to go to the question like you always do in Google, well when you click in the DuckDuckGo result it automatically takes you to the accepted answer without need to scroll. Do you rememeber at the begining of this article that I told you that your "... solution was definitely on StackOverflow" well, DuckDuckGo prioritizes StackOverflow solutions for you.

Like this features that I just describe you, there are many others that fits quite well in your development workflow, but it is hard for me to explain all of the here so... Give it a try! You may find even more when using it for a few time, remember that if you see them individually they may seem not productive enough, but when you start putting them together they begin to represent a serious option for improving your workflow time specially when you do questions as much as I do.

Do you know any other feature? Share it in the comments!

So lets start DuckDucking it!

Posted on by:

jaimelr profile

Jaime LR

@jaimelr

I'm a software engineer, I'm interested the most in Web and Mobile Development. I enjoy writing and reading and participe in dev communities in Mexico.

Discussion

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Ah nice move. The main ddg feature I do love is bangs duckduckgo.com/bang. This is amazing. Lets say you want to check mdn for that JavaScript method you always forget ? Just type !js Object.assign. You want yo check that github project ? !gh nock. Check zeke's talk at dotJS for more youtu.be/rKWHS2cfcAw

 

Wow, that's neat! I learned something

 

Wow, that's super cool!!! 🤩
I've been already using DuckDuckGo for quite a long time now, but didn't know that!

 

Yep. I just can't live without this feature anymore.

 

My favorites are StackOverflow !ov and, when I think Google will have better results, !g

 

In addition to answers to questions, DuckDuckGo also provides quick access to information from references. So if, for example, I want to look up about a particular CSS property, I can just DuckDuck it and most likely everything I need to know about it is there (often from MDN). Cheat sheets are also very useful - e.g. 'HTML cheat sheet' will instantly bring up a cheat sheet of common html elements. Cheat sheets also work for finding keyboard shortcuts e.g. 'atom cheat sheet' will give you a list of Atom keyboard shortcuts.

 

Yeah! I've seen that feature! Thanks!

 

Not seen these cheat sheet results before! This is amazing.

 

That is definitely a nice feature!

But I will be sticking with Google because it knows me. Some say that is creepy, I say it is handy. For example, Google knows I have been writing a lot of Java lately. So when I ask it "how to write to a file" it gives me Java results:

Google KNOWS

This example is pretty trivial because I could have added "java" to the end of the query to get similar results. However there have been many instances where Google has resolved much more complicated queries by fusing my search query with my personal data. Google is auto-magically providing implicit context to everything I search, allowing me to spend less time querying and more time reading + doing.

Obviously if you don't want Google tracking you this is a no-go. Personally I think the convenience is worth the cost.

 

Yeah agreed. I have honestly never understood the "omg Google tracks you to show ads" argument. If I'm using an ad-supported service why would I not want those ads as tailored as possible? Why it good thing for me to see less relevant ads?

 

When I type "how to write to a file" I got the same java result but I don't use java.

 

True for me as well: the first hit is for python (my language of preference), but then they are all Java (which I don't use). Seems like this specific query has a lot of clicks for java, which makes this specific example not so useful.

However, I have felt how Google uses my search history for better results during my queries, so I still agree it is a behavior that I find convenient.

I realized after posting this that Java is a bad example since it is so popular. But there was a time where I primarily used Scala and generic queries quickly brought me to Scala results so Google is definitely trying to figure it out.

 

Wow! That's an amazing feature! Thanks for sharing.

 

They also donate a portion of their revenue to various privacy minded causes.

duckduckgo.com/donations

Plus, if you aren't having luck with DDG, you can get private Google results via StartPage with their bang !s <obscure error>

 

But since DuckDuckGo do not use advertising for funding I feel like it is our responsibility as users to spread the word

Actually, DuckDuckGo generates revenue in two ways (while upholding our privacy policy): advertising and affiliate revenue.

The source:
duck.co/help/company/advertising-a...

 

Thanks! I think I have to clarify that statement. :)

 

Hi Jaime! Do you believe that is sustainable? Stackoverflow need to receive your visit, because is a free service. Stackoverflow need to be renumeramete by publishers, companies finding new talents, etc. So, don't thing that your sugestion is a good, in many ways: 1) Sometimes giving a up vote, you can help others, 2) Is good practise see another awnsers, many times the best options is not a correct (chosen), 3) You can write a improved answer or comment something. 4) Stackowerflow depends of your visit to survive!

So, You can use the DuckDuckgo, but please, visit the page!

 

Of course! Someone just give me the same observation a few hours ago, he made a comparison with leechers (from the torrent times). Even though I do have a StackOverflow account I forgot to mention in the post that I always come back and enter the site for an upvoting to the answer or for a comment on the question.

Thanks for your comment!

 

Google does the same thing with most things. Weather, dictionary sites and other sites they take small excepts from and show on search results. They are basically killing the internet

 

Heh, come back with another post when you discover that you are missing out on search results for your search terms. When you've spent hours searching DuckDuckGo and then tried googling the same search terms and the exact solution/topic you need poped up at the top when DuckDuckGo didn't even find it. Happened to me more than a couple dozen times in about six months I was using it and so eventually I had it with DuckDuckGo. I was wasting huge amounts of time just to use a hip search engine. Switched back to Google because results matter everything else is just sugar.

 

It happened to me a couple of times, but since most of my questions are quite basic when developing software, I find myself most of the times with the right answer using DDG.

Maybe I should update the post title to "I'm developing software and I don't Google... yet". :D

I must say again that it is important to remember that not all tools work the same way for everyone and this probably should be a quote to include in my next post. Thanks for your comment!

 

My only beef with DDG is the fact it doesn't show a date with the results. Which is the main reason I switched back to Google

 

I understand, it is important to remember that not all tools work the same way for everyone. Thanks for reading!

 

Welcome to the Duck side!

I switched a few months ago and never looked back.

 

While this is a neat feature that I didn't know about (and I'm all for advertising DuckDuckGo even though I don't use it right now), I feel like the "copy paste the top answer and don't even think about it" action path it encourages might not be the best.

 
 

I moved to DDG about 7 months ago, just to see if it could work as a replacement. The only reason I have had to use Google is for Google scholar! Otherwise DDG is great.
Favourite feature is showing the answer to the closest matching stack overflow question - speeds things up a lot.

 

I'm a pretty big DuckDuckGo fan these days too. I like the way the present info and I like how they don't track.

I do, on occasion, for obscure technical things, have to pop into google to get results sometimes, but it's a small price.

Can't give up google maps yet, but the way it has been changing, I'm ready for a simple challenger with streetview to pick me off.

 

This is just amazing! Thank you!

 

Pls change "yes, sir" to "yes, ma'am" or just remove the gendered way of addressing your audience. Otherwise, fun article.

 

Thanks! Already done. :D

 

It gives a whole new meaning to the term Duck Debugging. We could call it “DuckDuck Debugging”? Eh? Eh? It’s okay, I will see myself out.

PS - I love DuckDuckGo!

 

Tried it for a month. Oftentimes it isn't quite as good as Google and that adds up quickly.

 

I think Google is copying them. Just noticed this:

google top answer

 
 
 

Great post. I have been using DuckDuckGo for about a year ever since I sent them my first ever PR to an open source project and I don't miss google at all.

 

Interesting article, but the title is clickbait though.

 

Been using DDG for quite sometime now. I just love it!

 

When I google it, it does give the SO answers, but not nearly as nicely as DuckDuckGo! I'm sold!

google

 

This is a terrible feature. Google does this to Wikipedia as well. These free sites survive off having ads and search engines are slowly killing them by stealing their page views.