DuckDuckGo disables most search filters from Search
Internet search engine DuckDuckGo launched an update recently that removed most search filters, also called operators, from the search engine. Removed search operators include "" to search for exact terms, the "-" and "+" operators to reduce or increase the weight of search terms, and filetype:type, which allowed users to search for specific filetypes using search.
Users of the search engine will notice that DuckDuckGo ignores all disabled filters now, even when specified by the user.
Update: DuckDuckGo has updated the Help page to reflect that search syntax filters are still available. The company admitted, however, that they are experiencing some issues with filters, and that they may not work all the time currently because of that. End
Search operators allow users to add rules to their searches to include or exclude results. Basic search operators include minus to limit results that contain the phrase that is specified, or the site operator to only return results from the specified domain.
DuckDuckGo, like many other search engines, supported several search operators that its users could add to their search queries directly.
When used, DuckDuckgo displayed information about the used filter or filters at the top of the organic search results (below ads).
Now, with the update in place, it appears that only the -site operator remains the only search operator supported by the search engine. In other words, the following operators appear to have been disabled on the search engine:
- Term1 Term1, example cats dogs -- showed results about cats and dogs.
- "Term1 Term2", example "cats and dogs" -- showed results for the exact term cats and dogs, displayed related results if no exact matches were found.
- Term1 -Term2, example cats -dogs -- showed results for cats and tried to exclude results which also contained reference to dogs.
- Term1 +Term2, example cats +dogs -- prioritized results with dogs in the results.
- Term1 filetype:pdf, exsample cats filetype:pdf, showed PDF documents about cats.
- intitle:Term1, example intitle:dogs -- returned websites that had the term dogs in the page title.
- inurl:Term1, example inurl:cats -- returned websites that had the term cats in the page URL.
The only search filter that DuckDuckgo still supports is the site filter. It can be used to limit results to a specific site, or to exclude a specific site from the results.
- site:ghacks.net Firefox, returns Firefox results from Ghacks.
- -site:ghacks.net Firefox, returns Firefox results, but removes any results from Ghacks from the results listing. In other words, the specified URL is filtered from the results.
DuckDuckgo updated its search syntax support website to reflect the change. It lists only the site operator on it and no other operator anymore. Code on the search engine's GitHub project page confirms the change as well.
DuckDuckGo is not the only search provider that is removing or reducing the impact of search filters. Google Search users, for instance, may have noticed that Google may not honor search filters all the time, especially when the "" exact search term filter is being used.
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