I've realized search choices is actually better than !bangs

I’ve been a bit quiet in the forum here, but in the meantime, I have also been working on breaking my Google habits and I have successfully become much less reliant on not just Google, but many other Big-tech products like Gmail (proton), browser, and even went as far to replace macOS with opensuse MicroOS!

With that being said, I think it’s time to share something I have had in my mind while I have been using Mojeek for a long time as default search engine now; Search Choices is actually better than Bangs.

My Reasoning…

It’s just less addicting to take you back to Google. The ease of typing ! and the big G have always made me fallback to Google, when I was using DuckDuckGo before Mojeek back in the day, and I remember sometimes, I didn’t even end up giving DDG’s results a try.

This is not to say “Search Choices” makes it harder to go to a different site, but the fact that:

1- It’s not enabled by default (atleast I assume?) Edit: not enabled by default on search bar
2 - It makes you click the search bar and think of a query before making you straight away do !g
3 - The possibility of discouraging the use of privacy invasive search engines.
4 - I used to sometimes search !w for wikipedia and go search for some info directly there for research purposes, but you can’t obviously do that with search choices. The good thing is, since search choices is not as crazy as bangs (I mean bangs gives you the ability to jump to almost any other website instantly from DDG), I have actually ended up searching that research question on mojeek, and find sources that are not as popular as wikipedia (or it’s infobox) but more informational and found what I exactly needed. In short, search choices pushes the user to search and consider various sources of information before choosing, which is a good thing.

That 3rd reasoning, is also a big reason as to why I really do think search choices are better and I actually think we need to implement it. Right now, we are able to add Google, bing just the same as brave search for example, but I really think we should (making use of the chance, search choices gives us) provide a warning sign stating “Tracks you, compromises privacy” or so for not just Google but any privacy invasive search engine, I think some have already suggested this, but I highly back this to be implemented, we need to warn users, it’s what we stand for, privacy, and while we shouldn’t be the ones to remove Google or Bing completely and decide what the user should be able to do, but we should always warn and help users protect their privacy online, just like DDG extensions (using just as an example to mean protecting users online), and this would be a great start. (cc @Colin @Josh)

I still continue to learn a lot about Mojeek and some of the design choices and decisions once I wondered why do this, instead of just doing that? I originally proposed bangs myself, but I get it now and looking forward to see it improve further :muscle: :slight_smile:


It’s not enabled by default (atleast I assume?)

It is enabled by default; you’ll see Gigablast, Brave, Ecosia and Startpage at the bottom of the search results. It isn’t enabled in the search bar by default.


Couldn’t have said it better myself @Archit on the misgivings about bangs, it’s a good piece of functionality when you first encounter it, but as creatures of habit, we can easily get into bad ones wherein we’re just g! w! whatever! in a query and using DDG as a passage over to those other providers.

This is a very interesting way of creating what you might call “light patterns” instead of dark ones, informing the end user more about the choices they’re making without putting a finger directly on the scale. I guess also these warnings could link out to further information. Either way I’ll raise this for sure :smile:

Any questions around these things as they come up and/or further suggestions are always welcome!

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Appreciate it Josh! I do believe that warning users is a great way to keep people educated, especially when they are in a privacy-focused platform like Mojeek, it’s a great way and opportunity for us to educate and obviously warn users. This won’t stop them from using Google, we should remain unbiased and obviously let the user decide, but from our side, as per our values, it’s def a great idea to warn people because once they go to Google or Bing, our privacy policy no longer matters there!

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