I started using DuckDuckGo about a year ago, originally along side with Google and Bing (I kept finding that DuckDuckGo had a knack for doing good results when the others did them bad and alright when the others did them good), and then later by itself, only venturing to Google when DuckDuckGo had problems.
One of the few things that I loved more in Google than in DuckDuckGo was it's ability to adjust the search result ranking and inclusion methods for an individual search. For example, you could give it commands as to freshness and whole lot of other stuff.
Since the redesign of DuckDuckGo, I've loved the simple GUI which has triumphed over Google's and pretty much everyone else's. I was especially delighted when the region-centric button was added without cluttering the GUI at all.
When I imagine the best way to implement a GUI to do this, I imagine an instant answers style tab above the instant answers box, but pushed to the right ("float:right"/extreme right), labeled "Search Rankings" or "Search Customization", or something like that.
If you were to click on that, you would be presented with an easy GUI, something a child (or senior) could figure out. It would allow you to:
- Specify freshness threshold (basically the time period to include in results)
- Specify freshness ranking (how much priority to give to freshness)
2. Extra search words:
- Specify words you don't want included
- Remove synonyms to the words you typed originally
- Write exact quotes to look for
3. Add a list of trusted/untrusted sites
4. Specify WOT ranking (how much priority to give to trusted sites through WOT)
That sort of thing.
If this is done to be as convenient as Google, it might as well be better than Google. I suggest that there also be an option to save your preferences to an XML file on your hard-disk and then load them from there so that you can keep a record of previous settings that returned good results.