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Make DuckDuckGo The Default Search Engine in Google Chrome

duckduckgo-stickers

Not for Quacks: DuckDuckGo is growing in popularity

Want to make DuckDuckGo the default search engine in Chrome or on your Chromebook? It’s not obvious how to do it, but we’re here to show you. 

Google Chrome and Chrome OS use (obviously) the Google search engine by default, out of the box and make it easy to switch to other search engines.

Whether you want to get it on with Microsoft’s Bing, seek answers on Ask, or yodel for result with Yahoo!, Chrome let’s you switch search provider by selecting a choice from the drop-down menu available under Settings > Search.

But there’s a kicker.

DuckDuckGo is fast-growing, super little search engine whose main selling point is that it doesn’t sell your data. It doesn’t track the searches you make or ‘personalize’ the order of web results like Google does. Instead it promises its users a superior search experience with ‘smarter search, less clutter and real privacy’.

Chrome does not offer DuckDuckGo as an alternative search provider directly. You’ll need to add it manually if you want to use it for your omnibar, context menu and other in-browser searches.

duckduckchrome

It’s a waddle to set up

How To Make DuckDuckGo the Default Search Engine in Chrome

First up, be aware of what you’re changing.

Making DuckDuckGo your default search engine will route all searches made from the Omnibar (‘address bar’) through DuckDuckGo and not Google (the default search engine in Chrome).

Google do not include DuckDuckGo in its default list of search engine options (Bing, Yahoo! and Ask Jeeves are included). The omission is curious given that Google cites it as a ‘major competitor’ in the search arena.

The good news is that although you need to add DuckDuckGo to Chrome manually it can be done in just a few clicks:

  1. Open the DuckDuckGo website in a new tab or window
  2. Click the ‘Use in Chrome’ button
  3. Click the ‘Add to Chrome’ button
  4. In Chrome, go to ‘Settings > Search Engines > Manage’
  5. Find DuckDuckGo
  6. Click the blue ‘Make Default’ button
duckduck go settings

Once added you’ll be able to click ‘Make Default’

One made default, all future searches made from the omnibar Chrome, the right click context menu, etc will now return results from your new choice.

You will not (at the time of writing) see a replacement search box on the Chrome New Tab Page, something Bing and a number of other engines do offer, but you will still have access to your top sites.

Going Further

You may want to go beyond changing your default search engine in Chrome and add a few extras. DuckDuckGo has you covered here, too.

duckduckgo shortut app

You can also add a ‘glorified bookmark’ — ‘web app’ — that takes you straight to the DuckDuckGo homepage when clicked. When installed you’ll be able to launch the engine from the Chrome App Launcher and be able to pin to your your desktop taskbar or dock, whether on Windows, Mac, Linux or Chrome OS.

DuckDuckGo (Website App) on Chrome Web Store

duck duck go extension

A DuckDuckGo Chrome extension is also available. Installing this will add a button to the browser toolbar that shows a pop-over search box when clicked. Installing it also offers an option to see Answers from the alternative search engine embedded in Google and Bing search result pages, too.

DuckDuckGo Answers (Extension) on Chrome Web Store

You should also learn how to take advantage of it’s unique features, like !Bangs. These offer an easy way to search specific websites or for specific content.

There’s no !Bang for OMG! Chrome! but our sister site OMG! Ubuntu! can be searched using the !OMG or !OMGU bangs followed by a search term. For example:

!OMG QGifer

See the following page for a full list of !Bangs available.

DuckDuckGo Help: !Bangs

Lastly, for true aficionados, how about making one of these official DuckDuckGo wallpapers your desktop background? Ducking great idea, if you ask me!

  • I don’t know how far will the DuckDuckGo go but I noticed its search results to be more relevant and smart. Definitely an interesting search engine. Infact some of my blog traffic is coming from DuckDuckGo as well although I never planned or anticipated it. In fact, I did not even know about it up until a few months back.

    • It’s something I’ve found myself using a lot more often when doing research, for sure.

    • Paul B

      DuckDuckGo seems to be mostly powered by Bing, with a bit of DDG fairy dust sprinkled on top. If it gets popular, I expect Microsoft will want compensating for scraping their data.

      • Jop

        DuckDuckGo gets its results from over one hundred sources, including DuckDuckBot (our own crawler), crowd-sourced sites (like Wikipedia, which are stored in our own index), Yahoo! (through BOSS), Yandex, Yelp, and Bing. For any given search, there is usually a vertical search engine out there that does a better job at answering it than a general search engine. Our long-term goal is to get you information from that best source, ideally in instant answer form.

      • Lea Schorr

        Oh. DDG powered by BIng, huh? I have spent too much time and torn out too much of my hair due to trying to get rid of the B***. I do THINK now that B has been put to rout but one can never be sure.
        That said, if I do change from Google Plain (I mean Not Chrome) will DDG bring along a whole litter of PUPs that I have to chase out, give away, put up for adoption?
        KIDDING in that last sentence up there, truly I was. But I have seen some so-called C***Cleaners touted as The Greatest Thing…and then learned that the PUPs brought along were nothing short of horrible to try to get rid of. Plus which, they tinkled on the floor.
        TIA to anyone who can help the CompDunce here.

  • Brandon Giesing

    Hopefully, there will be an OMG! Chrome! !bang soon! (lots of !!!! LOL)

    I just submitted a new !bang suggestion with a link to this article!

  • ForSquirel

    got 2 devies switched.. gonna play around and see where it takes me

  • Bluegrapes

    It’s kind of funny how some people use DuckDuckGo so they could have more privacy in their search results but still use google chrome which is even worse in regards to that :D

    • In what way is using Chrome with DuckDuckGo worse, if you mind me asking?

      Google Sync is entirely optional (and opt-in) and once you change the browser’s search engine the only things Chrome will “track” (a loaded, rather emotive choice of word) are the same things that other browser would, most of it non-identifiable and in aggregate.

      Chrome is based on Chromium, which is entirely open-source. If Google had built anything additional in behind the scenes we’d know about it.

      • Alucard291

        Wait wait you don’t understand the difference between chromium and chrome? Oh boy…

        Just fyi – just because something is based on an open source system (OSX comes to mind) doesn’t mean that its open or transparent.

        Sources for chrome are not publically available.

        • I said that Google Chrome is based on Chromium, which is open source.

          I didn’t say that that being based on an open-source project precludes Google from adding extras to Chrome. We know it does: it adds Flash, branding, Google Now, Netflix support, etc.

          But a lot of the overinflated conspiracy theories just don’t make sense.

          What could Google possible track in Google Chrome that isn’t obvious? And given the hundreds of million users using it every minute of every day in various locations, what would the aim be?

          My advice to anyone who thinks Google Chrome has been built to… what ever it people even think it does… is to not use it.

  • Stephen Anderson

    I like DuckDuckGO…. but every time I use in a public place it causes a ruckus, since people are wondering where the bullets I’m dodging are coming from… :-)

    • tushantin

      At such moments, I’d go on to say that it doesn’t matter where the bullets are coming from because I’m a sitting (wait for it) duck!

      Hachyachyachyachya!

  • Vin

    What’s a !Bang ???

    • ChromeDude

      I have no idea but it sounds wrong.

    • They tell DDG to search specific sites or types of content.

    • WhyDoINeedANameForThis

      That’s a pretty cool feature: Want to search in Wikipedia? Type “!wen text” and you will be directed to the (English) Wikipedia.(!wde for German(Deutsch), and so on)..
      Search in YouTube with !yt, or find other shortcuts with !bang.

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  • bellduck

    I tried DDG for a few days, but just went back to Google. I felt that I rarely found what I was actually looking for.. Also, image search was horrible. It sometimes told me it didn’t find any pictures, when Google found thousands.

  • Jop

    I think it’s stupid that DuckDuckGo advertises itself as “The search engine that doesn’t track you”. You will still be tracked even if DuckDuckGo does not, so it barely makes any difference. I use DuckDuckGo because, unlike Google, they don’t censor.

  • etm567

    I have just installed Windows 10 and I cannot do this in Chrome. There are two boxes, and only the search engines in the top box can be made default. That includes Google, Ask, Yahoo, AOL and such. Duckduckgo is in the bottom box and I cannot seem to get it into the top box. Anybody know how to do that nowadays?

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