Replacing DuckDuckGo !bangs with Alfred


I recently switched back to using Google as my default search engine after several years of favouring DuckDuckGo. Duck’s search results were sadly just not good enough compared to Google’s. However, one thing it beat Google on was its ability to directly search a website using something called a !bang. So rather than searching ‘youtube van morrison tupelo honey’, with a !bang, you could enter ‘!yt van morrison tupelo honey’, which is quicker to type, but more importantly it searches YouTube directly using their search, and you bypass the Google/Duck results page altogether. So with my switch came this loss of a feature I use many times a day. Luckily Alfred saved the day.

Alfred is my Spotlight replacement of choice. And one of its features is the ability to do web searches, including your own custom web searches via keywords. So I need just to add YouTube as a custom web search, attach the keyword ‘yt’ and I’m all good. From then on I just need to launch Alfred and type ‘yt van morrison tupelo honey’ to achieve the same results as the Duck !bang.

But in fact using Alfred has other added bonuses.

  • It avoids having to type ‘!’ before each custom search.
  • I can use any custom keyword choice I want. If I didn’t like ‘yt’ I could of chosen ‘video’ or ‘y’ instead for YouTube.
  • Although Duck has a vast amount of !bang compatible websites and they give you the ability to suggest new ones to them, there are plenty of sites that aren’t on their list that I’d like to search. With Alfred I can add any site I want.
  • I don’t have to navigate to my browser to do a web search. I can be in any application and just launch Alfred.
  • I don’t have to wait around for Duck to process my search request and then redirect me to the relevant search page.
  • I don’t have to change my searching habits if I change my web browser. My behaviour remains the same.

So overall, everything went better than expected.

Thanks Alfred.