Search engine – A different view

Most of us will be doing a search in the internet for almost everything that comes to mind. If you’re the one who does so, it’s very likely you’ll be using a search engine for that matter. Though there are more than one search engine available, you will be using Google search engine for an internet search.

Google is one of the world’s largest companies. Though they have a wide spread of products traversed into many areas of our lives, they are still best known for their search engine. The phrase “You can just google that” emphasizes it. But there is one thing that you should keep in mind when you’re “googling” for information. To keep their services free, Google records a staggering amount of data about your online habits. Google in turn uses this data for targeted advertising – which obviously is Google’s primary source of income.

If you’re looking for a privacy focused alternative to Google search, then you should get your hands dirty with DuckDuckGO. The tag line of DDG describes as “the search engine that doesn’t track you”. For those who want to take anonymity a step further, TOR browser users are presented with DDG search results by default. If you’re the one familiar with TOR browser and the .onion TLD in the Dark Web, you might have used DDG there. I have mentioned about DDG very briefly in my earlier post on Dark Web

Most search engines collect and store search data, but google link that data to your account. This collected information is used to personalize your search results. That’s how Google show you targeted advertising. But on the other hand DDG doesn’t track you and opts not to personalize your search results. DDG focuses on search result quality over quantity.

DuckDuckGo has grown steadily since its inception in 2008, sky rocketing from an average of 79000 daily searches in 2010 to a 40 million million daily and stands at a whopping 30 billion searches as of this writing. They partnered with many Linux distributions and have native apps for both Android and iOS. DuckDuckGo also is a search provider on most mainstream browsers which gained traction to them, but Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari users can also install the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials extension. The extension blocks hidden advertising trackers, forces sites to switch to HTTPS where possible, and gives you quick access to DDG’s search.

Most of you will be wondering about the profitability of the company behind DuckDuckGo. We know that DuckDuckGo was first launched in 2008 which was done by it’s founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg. It is still owned and operated by Weinberg under the privately held company DuckDuckGo Inc. The company currently has over 65 employees working behind the scenes to continue development of DDG. Before creating DDG, Gabriel Weinberg developed one of the first-wave social networks, Names Database. He later sold the business for approximately $10 million in 2006. The money was used to self-fund the development of DDG through the company’s early years. Weinberg later co-authored Traction, a book about startup growth. Weinberg’s initial cash injection carried the company for some years. In 2011, the venture capital firm Union Square Ventures invested in DDG. According to Crunchbase, that initial funding round netted DDG an additional $3 million. To date, their external fundraising has generated $13 million. However, venture capital investments don’t make a company profitable. To create a financially sustainable business model, DDG displays advertising. nlike other search engines, the adverts are not based on targeted data. Instead, the ads are based exclusively on the keywords in your search. All of DDG’s advertising is syndicated by Yahoo, which is part of the Yahoo-Microsoft search alliance.

While DDG doesn’t provide any personal data to either company, the inclusion of two technology giants with questionable attitudes to privacy might make you uncomfortable. That’s why DDG allows you to head over to the settings and disable advertisements. This is one of the most important points in the DuckDuckGo vs. Google battle. DuckDuckGo is also part of Amazon and eBay’s affiliate programs. If you click through to either site from your search results and make a purchase, DDG receives a small percentage of the sale. However, no personal information is passed through to either company.

Developments in recent years have shown that many technology companies can’t be trusted with your data. From Facebook selling your data to unscrupulous third parties to Timehop losing the personal information of over 21 million accounts, there are many data breaches that may have put you at risk. So, it’s only natural that you would question why you should trust DuckDuckGo. The founder’s privacy-focused background and the company’s admirable business model are excellent starting points, but there are plenty more reasons to trust DDG. If you’ve been wondering is DuckDuckGo safe, then these points may reassure you.

Privacy Policy
Their clearly written Privacy Policy also makes for reassuring reading, providing detail on the small amount of information they do collect. The key takeaways are that they do not store IP addresses or unique User-Agent identification and will set a cookie only for saving site settings.

It ends with the assuring statement:

“…we will comply with court-ordered legal requests. However, in our case, we don’t expect any because there is nothing useful to give them since we don’t collect any personal information.”

Open Source
As well as being built using free and open source software (FOSS), DDG has made parts of their software open source. Many of the site’s designs, mobile apps, browser extensions, whitelists, and instant answers are available on DuckDuckGo’s GitHub page. Although the primary search core is proprietary, open-sourcing most other parts of the site means that, given the inclination, anyone can view the code.

Donations to Privacy
Like many companies, DDG also donates a portion of their income to good causes. They specifically select organizations which share their “vision of raising the standard of trust online.” Each year DuckDuckGo selects a new group of organizations, even reaching out to Reddit for suggestions. To date, they have donated $1.3 million to their chosen beneficiaries. The Donations page on their website lists each donation they’ve made, arranged by year.

Beyond Search
In January 2018, DuckDuckGo moved beyond search, releasing a suite of tools to help you maintain your privacy across the internet. They revamped their browser extensions and mobile apps to include tracking protection, encryption, and quick access to their private search. The update also added a Site Privacy Grade rating from A through to F, for you to gauge how much a site maintains your privacy. Many of the features found in the browser extension and mobile apps aim to stop tracking and protect your privacy. In other words, DuckDuckGo’s privacy apps want to keep you safe online.

DuckDuckGo has another trick up its sleeve: bangs.

Bangs allow you to search third-party sites directly from DuckDuckGo. Say you wanted to search Google would let you perform a site search by entering Using DDG’s bangs, you type !muo followed by your search term. There are even plenty of bangs that make Google search look slow. What’s more, searching a site with any of the thousands of available bangs takes you directly to the site, rather than the search engine’s results. If you do find yourself missing Google’s tailored results, then adding !g with your query will take you directly there.

Google became the dominant force in search by offering you personalized search. They built incredibly useful apps and services which captured even more of our data to improve your search results further. However, in light of several privacy scandals in recent years, we are becoming more cautious with our data.

Alongside search, Google operates some of the web’s most used software including Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, and more besides. Google’s access to vast amounts of your data means that its results can be deeply personalized and their search page pulls it all together in one place.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t have any personal data to draw from, and so makes itself stand out in other ways. It’s one of the many ways that DuckDuckGo protects your personal information online.

This privacy-focused environment is almost the exact reverse of Google’s highly targeted surroundings. There are no personalized ads, no personal search results, and no filter bubble. Depending on your point of view, this is either one of DDG’s best or worst features. For the privacy-minded, this lack of tracking is likely to seal the deal.

Before we conclude, a simple demo of the googles targeted advertisement is illustrated below. This will help you understand things better about how Google is tracking you right from your very first search, even in incognito mode.

Open Google Chrome in incognito mode: Now search something like Stock Market:

Now what you have to do is remove the “Stock Market” keyword from the search bar and place something random like how, when, what, why, etc. and look at the suggestions.

You can even try with some random words like Best, King, Joke etc.

The Google Search tries to manipulate the suggestions in order to engage you more and more with the topic you were looking for. This is just the beginning how Google can manipulate your search behaviors, which results in loss of time and information bombardment as well. There are many more ways how Google is using your personal data.

On the other hand DDG doesn’t behaves like above, we’ll now do the same exercise with DuckDuckGo and you can visualize the difference.

DuckDuckGo proves us that user privacy and usefulness aren’t mutually exclusive. Isn’t it an absolute winner of the DuckDuckGo vs. Google fight?

DuckDuckGo appeals to the privacy-minded, but importantly, it isn’t a niche product. There are a range of useful features and some DuckDuckGo search tricks that don’t even work on Google.

If you do decide to stick with Google, take a look at the ways to customize your Google Search results.

Clear Web, Deep Web and Dark Web

An Introduction

All of you might have heard about the Internet and WWW, but today we’re about to examine the other side of the internet or how much do we know about the internet? Yes, as we always say there are two sides to a coin, there exists a dark side for the internet too.

Before going too deep into the WWW, we’ll see how to distinguish between the Clear, Deep and Dark webs. The illustration below can put some light on the things we are discussing here, ##

  • Clear Web: This is the most common one. It’s the Internet we use on a daily basis either on mobiles or on Desktops/Laptops to check emails, to read news, to access Facebook, twitter, Instagram etc and for online shopping, booking tickets which we browse regularly.
  • Deep Web: It is the part or a subset of the Internet that isn’t necessarily malicious, but is simply too large and/or obscure to be indexed due to the limitations of crawling and indexing software (like Google/Bing/Baidu).  This means that you have to visit those places directly instead of being able to search for them. So there aren’t directions to get there, but they’re waiting if you have an address.
  • Dark Web: The Dark Web (also called Darknet) is the ill-famed subset of the Deep Web that is not only not indexed, but also is used by those who are purposely trying to control access because they have a strong desire for privacy, or because what they’re doing is illegal. The Dark Web often sits on top of additional sub-networks, such as Tor, I2P, and Freenet, and is often associated with a criminal activity of various degrees, including buying and selling drugs, pornography, gambling, etc. Though the deep web makes up 95% of all the internet the dark web only consist of about .03%. But that small section has millions of monthly users. The dark web is usually what people actually mean when they refer to the deep web. Although both are technically correct it is important to keep it separated so there is a standardised phrase.

Deep Web & Dark Web

Computer scientist Mike Bergman is credited with coining these term in 2000. The Dark web is a small part of the Deep Web which is not indexed by search engines. Sometimes the term “deep web” is mistakenly used to refer specifically to the dark web. Most of the web’s information is buried far down  on  sites, and standard search engines do not find it. Traditional  search  engines like Google,Bing etc cannot see or retrieve content in the deep web. The  portion of  the web that is indexed by standard search engines is known  as the  surface web or clear net or clear web. As of 2001, the deep web was several orders of  magnitude larger than the surface  web.

Methods   which prevent web pages from being indexed by traditional search   engines may be categorized as one or more of the following: **
  • Dynamic content:  dynamic pages  which are returned in response to a submitted query or  accessed only  through a form, especially if open-domain input elements  (such as text  fields) are used; such fields are hard to navigate  without domain  knowledge.
  • Unlinked content: pages which  are not linked to by other pages, which may prevent web crawling  programs from accessing the content. This content is referred to as  pages without backlinks (also known as in links). Also, search engines do  not always detect all backlinks from searched web pages.
  • Private Web: sites that require registration and login (password-protected resources).
  • Contextual Web:   pages with content varying for different access contexts (e.g., ranges   of client IP addresses or previous navigation sequence).
  • Limited access content:  sites that limit access to their pages in a technical way (e.g., using  the Robots Exclusion Standard or CAPTCHAs, or no-store directive which  prohibit search engines from browsing them and creating cached copies).
  • Scripted content:  pages that are only accessible through links produced by JavaScript as  well as content dynamically downloaded from Web servers via Flash or  Ajax solutions.
  • Non-HTML/text content: textual content encoded in multimedia (image or video) files or specific file formats not handled by search engines.
  • Software:  certain content is intentionally hidden from the regular internet,  accessible only with special software, such as Tor, I2P, or other  darknet software. For example, Tor allows users to access websites using  the .onion host suffix anonymously, hiding their IP address.
  • Web archives:  Web archival services such as the Wayback Machine  enable users to see  archived versions of web pages across time,  including websites which  have become inaccessible, and are not indexed  by search engines such as  Google.

How to access

Now we will discuss the most important part, Ho does we access the Deep web and Dark Web?
If you have an email id, a facebook account, a twitter account or collectively saying any of these social media accounts or if you are a person using internet banking  you are accessing the Deep web on a daily basis.
Wondering how.!! The databases which store your user information and other details about your account reside in the deep web.
So, now the sole enigma is on the access to Dark Web.
You cannot simply access the dark web from a normal web browser like Chrome, you can only access the dark web through a dark web browser. The most famous of these deep web browsers is called Tor and this is the one we recommend you get if you’re looking to get onto the deep web.


Tor is free software for enabling anonymous communication. The name is derived from an acronym for the original software project name “The Onion Router”. Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer network consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult for Internet activity to be traced back to the user: this includes “visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms”. Tor’s use is intended to protect the personal privacy of users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored.
It was developed in the mid-1990s by United States Naval Research Laboratory employees, mathematician Paul Syverson and computer scientists Michael G. Reed and David Goldschlag, with the purpose of protecting U.S. intelligence communications online. Onion routing was further developed by DARPA in 1997
Downloads of Tor soared in August by almost 100% as the general population became more and more concerned about their privacy amid revelations about US and UK intelligence agencies monitoring web traffic. In short, more and more people are turning to the deep web to get their internet fix and protect their information.
This is because when you’re using Tor – or any other deep web browser – you are truly anonymous and your location cannot be picked up and neither can your browsing habits. Essentially nothing you do in the deep web can be monitored and as such the deep web is becoming a more attractive option for all internet users – those who know about it at least.


.onion is a special-use top level domain suffix designating an anonymous hidden service reachable via the Tor network. Such addresses are not actual DNS names, and the .onion TLD is not in the Internet DNS root, but with the appropriate proxy software installed, Internet programs such as web browsers can access sites with .onion addresses by sending the request through the network of Tor servers. The purpose of using such a system is to make both the information provider and the person accessing the information more difficult to trace, whether by one another, by an intermediate network host, or by an outsider. Addresses in the .onion TLD are generally opaque, non-mnemonic, 16-character alpha-semi-numeric hashes which are automatically generated based on a public key when a hidden service is configured. These 16-character hashes can be made up of any letter of the alphabet, and decimal digits from 2 to 7, thus representing an 80-bit number in base32. The “onion” name refers to onion routing, the technique used by Tor to achieve a degree of anonymity.
Apologies for deviating from the topic of accessing the Dark Web, Without a mention about TOR and .onion we cannot jump to access the Dark Web.

Steps to accessing the Dark Web

The method mentioned below is the simplest way to access Dark Web. There are other methods and TOR specific OS to access the contents of Dark Web
Download and install TOR Browser Bundle from the TOR project site.
TOR Browser Bundle is a browser configured to browse using the TOR relay network.  The browser component is actually built using the Firefox codebase, so if you have used Firefox you will find it pretty familiar.  It comes properly configured and won’t install any malware or cruft on your computer, as it is written and maintained by freedom fighters, not some large corporation. 
Once you install it, fire up your tor browser and you are good to go into the Dark Web.
You can browse on to the Dark Web sites using this browser by passing the links in the address bar of the browser. The following link will give you a good start. Don’t forget to go through the links “The Matrix” and “How to Exit the Matrix” in this link. Also, I personally recommend using Linux or any other Non-Windows for playing with TOR and Dark Web. Please check this link for taking some security measures Do’s and Dont’s


Search Engines TOR specific:

More onion URLs are found in the  Hidden Wiki

## – This illustration is just for demonstration purpose

** – This content is as is fromWikipedia


This is a personal blog. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. They are collated from different sources and some are my own.The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

The owner of THIS BLOG will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information 
Data courtesy : Rational WikiPopular Science,, TORProject, Hacked