I quite like helm-google-suggest, but I would like it even more if it didn't connect to Google. Once you have your candidate, searching for it in a better search engine is as simple as this:

(setq helm-google-suggest-search-url "https://duckduckgo.com/lite/?q=%s&kp=1")

However, generating the suggestions themselves is not so easy. The DuckDuckGo API documentation is sparse, to say the least. The only thing I could find is https://ac.duckduckgo.com/ac/?q=%s,
which generates the suggestions, but does not accept the format=xml query that the other DuckDuckGo APIs accept. Instead, it always returns a JSON string.

Since helm-google-suggest expects its URL to return XML. This doesn't work:

(setq helm-google-suggest-url "https://duckduckgo.com/ac/?q=%s")  

An obvious solution would be to hack my own function that regex-replaces the JSON string to valid XML and hands it back to Helm, but before I do that, is there an easier way?

1 Answer 1


The code is specific to google, so what you're trying to do won't work. Here's something you can try based on the original helm-google-suggest command.

(defun helm-ddg-suggest-fetch (input)
  (let ((json-array-type 'list))
         (format "https://duckduckgo.com/ac/?q=%s" input) t)
       (goto-char url-http-end-of-headers)
(defun helm-ddg-suggest-set-candidates ()
  (let ((suggestions (mapcar 'cdar (helm-ddg-suggest-fetch helm-pattern))))
    (if (member helm-pattern suggestions) suggestions
      (append suggestions
              (list (cons (format "Search for '%s' on DuckDuckGo" helm-input)

(defun helm-ddg-suggest ()
   (helm-build-sync-source "DuckDuckGo Suggest"
     :candidates 'helm-ddg-suggest-set-candidates
     :action (lambda (s)
                (format helm-surfraw-duckduckgo-url 
                        (url-hexify-string s))))
     :match-dynamic t
     :requires-pattern 3)
   "*helm duckduckgo*"))

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