Class Project: Google and the Academy

J_S32 J_S32
Created: 4 years and 10 months ago • Updated: 4 years and 10 months ago
Hello DuckDuckGo community!

Hey everyone! My name's John, and I'm pretty new here. Even so, I'm putting this out there because I'm enthused about this awesome resource and I need your help.

I'm currently working on a research project for my English 302 class that our team has titled "Google and the Academy." We're investigating Google as a company and it's relationship to information, especially when it comes to education. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but what we've found has been a little unsettling (to put it lightly) especially since our university requires us to have GMail accounts for school correspondence. I'm really glad I came across DuckDuckGo, and I want to learn more about its mission and effectiveness.

Seeing as you've all come across this resource as well, I'd love to get some perspectives from you all to use in the project. If you have time, think you could answer a few of these questions? Be as brief or in depth as you want -- I'll take everything I can get!

1.) What's your DuckDuckGo story? Who/what brought you here?

2.) What do you think of Google and its position in the digital space? Do you have a strong opinion either way?

3.) Based on your experience, what does DuckDuckGo do better than other searches?

4.) For students out there, does your school (like mine) use Gmail or other Google services? How do you feel about that?

5.) Anything else you'd like to add or directions you can point me?

Thanks for your time, everyone, and I hope to be hearing from you all soon!

-John

P.S. If there's an admin out there reading this, I'd be very interested in setting up a Skype interview or even just emailing one of you to discuss some more specific questions for the project. Please let me know who to contact if you are interested!

This forum has been archived

Thank you all for the many comments, questions and suggestions. Particular thanks go to user x.15a2 for constantly monitoring, replying and helping so many users here. To continue these discussions, please head over to the DuckDuckGo subreddit.


crazedpsyc
1. I tried DuckDuckGo a few years ago, just checking out the options. I had (and honestly, have) no big privacy qualms, I was just curious what else was out there. DuckDuckGo was the only thing I found other than Google and Yahoo which actually gave decent results for its own name. The instant answer for that query intrigued me, and I was soon hooked by the responsive feedback, which at the time was a direct email to Gabriel.

2. I started getting annoyed with Google after one of their first major interface changes. They started changing little things every week or so, and it drove me a bit mad. Then things started moving around all by themselves, that was it. Its position? It is (in my opinion) a monopoly. Monopolies are never good for consumers, and I don't think this is an exception. It is definitely worrying.

3. It gives me information quickly when I already know what I want (i.e. documentation for a particular function, a stackoverflow post solving an issue, etc.). I almost always know what I want, so that works for me.

4. Not to the extent of requiring a gmail account, but to the extent that people get rather confused when I don't use gmail.

Sounds like a neat project, I'd love to see what you come up with!
posted by crazedpsyc 4 years and 10 months ago Link
anonymous
1.) What's your DuckDuckGo story? Who/what brought you here?
ANSWER: The entire dust-up about the US government recording just about everything done by everyone. I'm Canadian, and our own Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (world-ranked for investigative journalism) did extensive coverage, including our own government's complicity. I changed to DDG the day after the story broke. I stayed because the story just gets worse every day.

2.) What do you think of Google and its position in the digital space? Do you have a strong opinion either way?
ANSWER: I am increasingly frightened of Google's role in digital space. Yes, Google does amazing work for the betterment of humankind, everything from GoogleBooks and the project to preserve knowledge, the the Google Global Impact Awards (each award is in the millions of dollars, all for similar "betterment of humankind" work), to the YouTube Symphonies, etc. etc.

BUT: Google wants all of my accounts linked. They want all of my mobile devices synched (I have none - can't afford them, by my friends merrily add mobile numbers etc). They are gathering all personal information in one hub for each person. That, coupled with the NSA and other spy projects, is terrifying. When singularity comes, I want a few bits of me left out of it.

3.) Based on your experience, what does DuckDuckGo do better than other searches?
ANSWER:
a) DDG seems faster - probably because of the absence of tracking protocols and hidden junk
b) fewer ads
c) I really like the "instant answers" box at the top of the page, and the "official site" designations
d) I love the !bangs that let me (very flexibly) tailor a search without extra tabs
e) The DDG community! Other search engine communities are amorphous clouds of posts, and I've
only every had a personal reply once.
f) DDG Admin responsiveness: I suggested a holiday logo and had an admin reply in 24 hrs. On the
other search engines, you never, every get to contact an Admin.
g) Functional anonymity. The others first want your contact info, then tell you you'll be anonymous.
NOT.

4.) For students out there, does your school (like mine) use Gmail or other Google services? How do you feel about that?
ANSWER: not applicable to me, but at least Gmail is not as leaky as Hotmail.

5.) Anything else you'd like to add or directions you can point me?

CBC Radio "As it Happens" feature on DDG:
http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/features/2...
posted by <hidden> • 4 years and 10 months ago Link
TV
Hello John, I will gladly answer any questions you have in regards to DDG.


Quote:
1.) What's your DuckDuckGo story? Who/what brought you here?



I joined DDG a couple of years ago seeking a better search engine, I was aware of Google and Yandex becoming huge manipulators of the internet game.
They were always providing me with the same shit even though I wanted to explore new stuff. -> http://dontbubble.us/


When I came across DDG it was an amazing and enlightening experience for me. Due to their lack of a filter bubble, I finally felt the fresh air of freedom from experiencing an internet without censorship.


Quote:
2.) What do you think of Google and its position in the digital space? Do you have a strong opinion either way?



They are definitely number one; they are constantly providing new services to users just to keep them as customers, such as Google Glass, Google Map, Google This, Google That.
To be honest, it's an extremely good marketing move, but alike with the opinions of normal citizens of the internet, I don't like monopoly and I believe there should be competition.


Also, since the NSA is the one pulling the strings behind the scenes, its quite sad that Google accepted to cooperate with them.


Quote:
3.) Based on your experience, what does DuckDuckGo do better than other searches?



I would say instant answers, bangs and freedom of internet use are three key factors of DDG being the best at the moment.


Quote:
4.) For students out there, does your school (like mine) use Gmail or other Google services? How do you feel about that?



I think that every school or educational institution should be flexible enough to give students the ability to decide what is the best for themselves. If they are forced to go with Gmail (for example) that's bad and it should be changed.

If you have any more questions, I'll be more than happy to answer.
posted by TV 4 years and 9 months ago Link
x.15a2
Hello John, Sorry it too me so long to get back to your post... here's my shot at answering your questions:

1.) What's your DuckDuckGo story? Who/what brought you here?
I got tired of the other search engines and their tracking ways. I started noticing signs that my searches were being tracked and manipulated and resented it. Just over 3 years ago I found out about DDG and loved the concept, the simple layout and the search results. I was also impressed that they had an active community forum that the devs and even the company founder frequent. I don't see that happening with the other search engines!

2.) What do you think of Google and its position in the digital space? Do you have a strong opinion either way?
For me is kind of a juxtaposition. I hate that they control so much of the internet and mine so much personal information, but I am impressed at their ability to innovate. I refuse to use their search, email, social media, etc. On the other hand, I have 2 android devices (both rooted), but I don't have any valid accounts associated with them.

3.) Based on your experience, what does DuckDuckGo do better than other searches?
Faster and "cleaner" search results. The Instant Answers are very helpful and the !Bang transform how you search with your favorite\most used web sites.

4.) For students out there, does your school (like mine) use Gmail or other Google services? How do you feel about that? My wife is a teacher in a local school and they are hooked into Gmail. I don't like it (see above), but G makes a compelling argument to the schools but I wish that the decision makers at the schools would be more concerned about privacy. I also don't like that food and beverage distributors have exclusive vending rights in schools, but that's another issue and it's the world that we live in today.

5.) Anything else you'd like to add or directions you can point me?
https://duckduckgo.com/privacy
http://donttrack.us/
http://dontbubble.us/
http://fixtracking.com/
http://whatisdnt.com/

Thanks!
posted by x.15a2 Community Leader4 years and 9 months ago Link
MildMallard
I completely respect what you're doing.
Conspiracy theories piss me off but I find Google's ambitions concerning.

Now I'm an extremely cynical person, mostly due to growing up in an era of unprecedented incompetence (Unnecessary Wars, Wall-Street Corruption, Congress). It amazes me that no one minds about companies (and the government for that matter) storing their information.

I came to duckduckgo because privacy doesn't seem to matter anymore. The first time facebook introduced face recognition everyone freaked out, the second time no one cared. They killed special protection for minors. So I deleted social media, good riddance, but the new google site integration was beginning to bother me—they're practically requiring personhood on the internet. I just don't want people to be able to look me up and know my information, given that I want to go to college and there's so many people searchity gadgets around today. So I deleted chrome (even chromium is connected to google), got firefox, installed privacy addons, including duckduckgo. I heard about it on some best privacy addons site. So.... yeah. Apparently they don't track me.

I'm suspicious about the digital space in general. The Cloud? Yeah, we're basically giving them the rights to our crap for convenience. Thermostats linked to internet? Hell no. Google Glass? Why don't you just cut out my optic nerve and give it to google for duck's sake. What frightens me most about google is their claim to be above evil, to be preserving humanity's information (more like exploiting it for ad revenue). They make themselves out to be a motley group of kindly nerds. But they're not. They're businessmen. No corporation should have an innocent public image.

As for duckduckgo, the community is great, instant answers is very convenient, and of course it's all private.

My school does not use gmail, we have our own domain.
posted by MildMallard 4 years and 9 months ago Link