How I Use DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a web search engine. It’s my default search engine. You might wonder why. What’s wrong with Google?

DuckDuckGo promotes itself as a private search engine, but that’s not why I use it. I use DuckDuckGo because it’s like a command-line interface to the Internet.

If I want to search for a book named The Great Gatsby, I’d type the following into the search box (or OneBox on Chrome):

!a The Great Gatsby

If I want to look up “Propane” in Wikipedia, I use:

!w Propane

If I want to see who registered the domain name, I just enter:


DuckDuckGo sends that search to the whois service at If I want to ask Wolfram Alpha a question, I do like so:

!wa position of Mars

If I want to search Google, I can do that too:

!g weather in Burnaby

DuckDuckGo has oodles of these “bang commands” (where the exclamation mark is pronounced “bang”). I used to wonder why they didn’t promote them, but I realized that learning a bunch of bang commands is probably intimidating. For me, it’s like Unix: there are zillions of commands and tricks, but you only need a handful on a regular basis.