Recently I encountered duckduckgo.com, and I am hooked. We all want solutions customized to our needs for a lot of things, online and offline, but does that include a search engine that displays results for queries based on dozens of factors?
The idea of DuckDuckGo is that search results are put in a far more logical order and presented in a manner that is visually appealing. It also attempts to be more transparent than Google, by keeping user information private instead of tracking users web habits. They have made the web site DontTrack.us, which details precisely how Google violates privacy and may potentially give personal information to insurance and law agents. I followed the explanation of bubbling at DontBubble.us, which details search engines returning biased results, driven by user conduct. The variety of different results connected to political matters for example, is upsetting.
The main idea involving DuckDuckGo is what they call Zero-click search. Whenever you search for something, it compiles the information and utilizes human-based input to give users what is generally considered the most relevant information. I've found their results to be better than Google in many cases, not only in simplicity but relevancy. It's also worth noting that there are a substantially decreased level of spam sites congesting up the results.
From an open source perspective, DuckDuckGo is about as close as possible to an ideal open source search engine. It uses “FreeBSD for the main operating system and Ubuntu for EC2 failover images.” It's also worth noting that Perl is employed on the backend.
There are numerous impressive things about DuckDuckGo. The way it presents information, the way it deals with user information, and the way it embraces open source indicates that they are wanting to get this done right. Not only that, its clean, fresh, and not bogged down with ads and spam. I highly recommend using it for a week straight and see what you think. In my opinion, it's on par with Google (if not better), and miles ahead of the rest.