If you are using the privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo, you have probably installed the official application of the search engine on your phone or tablet as well to make use of the very same features that make it a great alternative to the big dogs Google and Bing.
DuckDuckGo promises that it wont track users, won't personalize search results, and enables users to search the web anonymously.
The Android application, DuckDuckGo Search & Stories, offers the same feature set as the web-based version. You can use it to search on DuckDuckGo, and use all the features that makes the search engine special. This includes the !bang syntax, all privacy protections, and also zero-click information about select search phrases that are displayed right on top of the regular results.
DuckDuckGo and Tor
One of the recent changes in DuckDuckGo's application for Android is the integration of Tor in it. It depends on another application though, but will point you in the right direction once you enable Tor in the DuckDuckGo preferences.
To use the Tor network in DuckDuckGo, do the following:
- Install the DuckDuckGo Search & Stories application on your Android device. It is compatible with all Android versions from 2.2 onwards.
- Tap on the menu button and select settings from the menu that opens up.
- Scroll down on the settings page until you find TOR listed there.
- Tap on Enable Tor to activate the integration.
- A prompt is displayed that informs you that you need to install the free Android application Orbot for that.
- If you select yes you are taken to Google Play where you can install the app.
When you open the DuckDuckGo application from now on, it will check if Orbot is running, and if it is not, ask you if you want to start it.
Note: If you enable Tor, you need Orbot to run. If it is not running, you won't get any connection to DuckDuckGo using the application.
You are probably wondering how you can tell that you are connected to the TOR network and that the DuckDuckGo application is making use of it as well.
Besides the connection error that you get when it is not running, you can install the free Orweb: Private Web Browser application to test that on your phone or tablet.
Just run the app after installation and you should get a confirmation that you are connected to the TOR network.
Support for the Tor network is certainly something that many DuckDuckGo users will appreciate. The integration itself works really well once you are past the setup. It may take one additional click to start a search, as you may need to start Orbot if it is not running.
You can configure Orbot to automatically start with the Android phone so that it is available right after that.