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.
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:
- Open the DuckDuckGo website in a new tab or window
- Click the ‘Use in Chrome’ button
- Click the ‘Add to Chrome’ button
- In Chrome, go to ‘Settings > Search Engines > Manage’
- Find DuckDuckGo
- Click the blue ‘Make Default’ button
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.
You may want to go beyond changing your default search engine in Chrome and add a few extras. DuckDuckGo has you covered here, too.
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.
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.
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:
See the following page for a full list of !Bangs available.
Lastly, for true aficionados, how about making one of these official DuckDuckGo wallpapers your desktop background? Ducking great idea, if you ask me!