Software Development
Data / Events / Hackathons

On Saturday, join DuckDuckGo’s virtual hackathon

The company is focused on creating a search engine built with the community that uses it.

From an old-school "Quack and Hack" at DuckDuckGo's Paoli office, July 2012. (Courtesy photo)

DuckDuckGo wants you to join the open source movement. Why not start with hacking the search engine?
On Saturday, the Paoli-based anti-Google (read: it doesn’t track you) is hosting a 24-hour virtual version of the “Quack and Hack” hackathons they’ve held IRL. Developers can learn about DuckDuckGo as an open source platform and make the search engine better by adding tech-related search shortcuts, which the company calls instant answers. Here’s an example. (Developers get credited for their instant answers, too. Click the “Information” icon on that example to see.)
Get details
There’s also an in-person Philadelphia meetup at Benjamin’s Desk from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Here’s spokesman Zac Pappis on why DuckDuckGo is going virtual:

Our dev community is the key to providing a better search experience. The best Instant Answers are created by the folks that know those subjects intimately. e.g. a passionate Lego hobbyist can create the best Lego Instant Answers because they’ll know what to show for which searches, what sources should power the data as well as which communities can offer their knowledge/help. [Editor’s note: This is a real-life example.]
The Global Quack & Hack is all about making DuckDuckGo the best search engine a developer can use for their searches, not just on that day but long into the future. If we can give awe-inspiring results to developers, we hope they’ll consider joining our open source search movement long-term.

Also: the 28-person company, most of whose staffers are remote, hires from its developer community (Pappis himself was a community member before he joined the team). Meaning that this isn’t a bad place to start if you want to get hired at DuckDuckGo, which has exploded in popularity since Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the federal government’s surveillance program. Still, the search engine holds only a small fraction of the search market, as a recent Fast Company story pointed out.
These kinds of events speak to DuckDuckGo’s approach, counter to that of the search giants. They want to create a search engine built by the community, driven by a community’s interests and desires.
One question that inevitably comes to mind is: why do this for a for-profit company?
It’s not that uncommon, however. Al Jazeera’s news hackathon last year challenged developers to build news apps for the company. The underlying sentiment, behind both hackathons, is that there’s a greater good involved. The thinking is: if you want a search engine that doesn’t track you and that’s also worth using, you should join in.

Companies: DuckDuckGo

Before you go...

Please consider supporting to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!


Former employees give a look inside LifeBrand’s financial turmoil leading up to layoffs

‘Racist rhetoric leads to attacks’: Asian Americans and lawsuit plaintiffs take on the TikTok ban

A local meetup group is using Amazon’s cybersecurity conference in Philly to raise money for tech nonprofits

Philly is ranked one of the world’s best places to found a startup, climbing to No. 25 globally

Technically Media