DuckDuckOH... OH NO....
DuckDuckGo (more commonly called ddg) is probably the most popular "privacy respecting search engine", but we can debate that, DuckDuckGo is a company, not your friend, their ultimate goal is to make money and usually companies do that by farming your data.
First things first - as I already mentioned, ddg is a company an their goal is to make money, nothing else.
Then there is a fact that ddg is proprietary so you can be sure that it has loads of unwatched vulnerabilities and as nobody can see the code, they're probably collecting the same, if not more data about you than google as some stupid criminals might use ddg for illegal things so they can use the data against them to make $money$.
After that there's the fact they they leave a lot of data in your browser storage with cookies so I feel like they're doing a lot of identity storing. Even though it's less than google, it's not as much, from my usage expierience duckduckgo leaves ~15 cookies where google - ~35, but I use gmail for example, so I think duckduckgo as it has no other services that I use still tracks you quite a lot.
DuckDuckGo also has !bangs, which is a convenient thing, but breaks all BASIC privacy rules... It doesn't even fetch it server side when to be private it should, it just redirects you instead with is just a horrible idea...
They say they don't censor anything, but they have to if they don't want to get in trouble with the US government, amazon and in general people with higher powers than them.
It's hosted in the US by amazon, even if they didn't collect any data, amazon is, which collects even more data than google usually and as it's hosted in the US so you don't really get much privacy by law.
What I liked about ddg:
So I looked around and found searx , it's basically what duckduckgo is trying to be. Though note that searx is not a search engine, it's a meta search engine , which basically means it fetches results server-side and brings them to you, privately.
Searx collects no data about you and they're pretty open about what they collect, even your preferences are stored on the back-end, I personally don't have any cookies from it from using it for longer than duckduckgo, not even any browser data (I.e localstorage, cookies, etc.).
Searx as far as I can see fills in the holes ddg has:
And in general seems like what ddg is trying to accomplish, but is failing because it has become like every company, power and data hungry
There is nothing private on the internet, you can just try to minimise it, which ddg is not doing, it still is identifying you, which is the only huge part you can really try mitigate. Its tor service is set up semi-correctly, I feel like it's still not good enough, I don't trust ddg like you shouldn't.
DuckDuckGo is trying to make look itself the best private thing out there when it just covers itself with the privacy cloak, when under is hiding the same evil its talking shit about, as I said, ddg is a company, it doesn't care about you, it's just another power hungry asshole that you should not trust and only use in a very isolated box.
And if you use ddg you can see how marketing and youtubers shilling ddg got to you, the same as with VPNs , you trusted someone and now you made a choice that hurt you when you thought it will help you, never trust anyone but yourself. The art of marketing and lying is evil so please, before you use anything, DYOR (do your own research) and think to yourself if the person telling you to use something is bias, there was money involved, if the product seems too good to be true and in general, get deeper into it than just trusting someone.