I am overwhelmed with a geeky sense of joy when I search for “Philadelphia Flyers” on Google and instantly get a schedule of upcoming games as well as scores from previous ones at the top of the results.
Those type of “instant answers” make my day go smoother and keeps me from having to dig through the top ten results for the high-level things that I’m looking for, such as sports scores or flight schedules.
As with any other technology, we have our choice of search engines to pick from. While most of the world uses Google, Microsoft has Bing, and there’s a fast-rising alternative to both that we’ve told you about called DuckDuckGo. Since the end of last year, daily search queries on the site have gone up 227 percent.
To stand out from the crowd, DuckDuckGo provides some interesting search assistants or hack, which it calls “goodies”, to make your search experience more enjoyable and streamlined. Being a dark horse in the race of search also gives the company the opportunity to try out new ideas, such as letting people write plugins that alter how search results are shown.
The company announced this initiative today and calls it “DuckDuckHack“. The platform will allow any developer to create a plugin that creates instant answers for search queries performed on the search engine.
Here what DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg had to say about the new platform today:
For example, suppose you often do searches on bioinformatics or lego parts or on other topics that we don’t know much about. Then you’re in a great position to help craft great instant answers in that area and improve your own results along with the results of others doing similar searches. We hope that DuckDuckHack will give you the opportunity to do so.
When visiting DuckDuckGo today and searching for “xkcd 115″, you’ll instantly be shown the 115th iteration of the popular web comic xkcd:
You don’t have to install these “plugins”, as they’re baked right into the search engine once they’re approved by the company. You can follow @DuckDuckHack on Twitter to find out some of the newest easter eggs.
That’s just one example of the type of search hacks that developers can start coming up with now using the platform. By visiting DuckDuckHack.com, you can find answers to all of your questions as well as get more information about the platform itself and how to get started.
The company has funding through solid investors like Union Square Ventures, so its safe to say that the growth of DuckDuckGo will continue. Is it a threat to Google? Probably not in the grand scheme of things, but the idea of innovation in search coming from a company outside of Google isn’t a crazy notion.