Thanks to a conversation on Mastodon (which was going quite nicely till the other person lost their temper and concluded that anyone who criticizes Duck Duck Go must be a Google shill) I wanted to see if Bing had recovered on the group of sites I used to run through the search engines. It’s been seven months.
To some extent, it has. But to be out of action for a year for so many sites—and to continue to score pretty poorly for searches of sites like Microsoft and The New York Times compared with Mojeek and Google—can we really trust Bing (and its reskins like Duck Duck Go, Qwant, Ecosia, et al)?
I am pretty suspicious about some of these numbers, even though I tested Lucire’s and, believe it or not, Bing could deliver over 1,000 results (1,760 in the case of my test in July). Holly, if you’re reading this, do you think you have 1,460 entries on your site? (Given how often you write, it’s highly possible.) Mind you, I don’t believe Google’s numbers on The Rake as there’s no way it ever reached 470,000 as Google claimed it did in February. Even now it seems high, as much as I like that magazine.
But once trust is lost, it’s hard to regain. And that’s how I feel about Duck Duck Go, mainly with their folks clamming up about how badly the search has gone. They didn’t even help Techdirt out when its founder Mike Masnick replicated my January test and found 0 results for site:techdirt.com. Then all the earlier criticisms (e.g. that their browser really wasn’t as private as claimed) are harder to brush off. Then you wonder if things are genuinely all that private with their search.
Mojeek has exhibited all the openness that DDG used to, and it hasn’t put a foot wrong in my opinion. It’s continued to refine its search results (and recognizes there is room for improvement) and it keeps growing its search index. I know some of you are disappointed with its results, but I’m sticking to it—on the basis that the more samples it has of searches, the more things can be refined. We should care that there’s an occidental search engine that genuinely cares about privacy (and has done so for longer than DDG)—and has the biggest index around after Google.