DuckDuckGo Maps gets Directions feature

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 11, 2020
Internet, Search

Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo has had maps integrated for years. Users could open the Maps part of the offering to look up places powered by Apple's MapKit JS Framework. One thing that was missing up until now was the ability to get directions using Maps on DuckDuckGo.

The company announced this week that it has added the much requested feature (according to DuckDuckGo), to its Maps service. DuckDuckGo users may get walking and driving directions now when they use Maps on the site.

duckduckgo maps directions

While that is less than what Google Maps offers, as Google's offering supports transit, cycling and flight directions as well, it is the private nature of the directions addendum that may appeal to users of the service. DuckDuckGo's privacy policy applies to Maps and thus also to the new directions feature, and that means that the company won't collect or share personal information.

The location-based information are isolated and discarded after use according to the announcement.

In the case of location-related searches, your browser sends location information which we isolate from any personal information the browser sends, and which we discard after use, enabling us to provide anonymous localized results and features.

Using Maps and the new directions feature is quite easy. When you run a search for a place on DuckDuckGo's main site, you will notice that a small map is displayed on the right. A click on the map or on the directions button that is displayed opens the maps interface. You may also run any query and click on Maps to open it, or use the shortcut !ddgm  followed by the name of a place to open the Maps interface right away.

A click on the Directions button pulls directions using your location by default, but you can change the "from" and "to" parameters easily using the interface.

The directions part of Maps displays several route options if available, with the fastest route selected by default.

Closing Words

The new directions options adds a missing piece of functionality to the Maps feature. It may be an option for users of DuckDuckGo who prefer private searches over Maps services that are less privacy-focused or not at all. The directions feature has a few usability issues, it is for instance not possible to click on a different place to replace one of the two direction locations.

Now You: which Maps and Directions service do you use, and why?

DuckDuckGo Maps gets Directions feature
Article Name
DuckDuckGo Maps gets Directions feature
The Maps feature of the DuckDuckGo privacy-focused search engine was updated with Directions functionality to get walking and driving directions between two locations.
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  1. ShintoPlasm said on October 13, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Meh. One of the benefits of using DDG Maps was the option to use the other, better mapping services when needed. Now that they’ve removed the links to HERE, Google Maps, OSM and Bing Maps, I’m finding it much less useful.

  2. skynet said on October 13, 2020 at 11:41 am

    The quality of the map for my area is awful with town’s roads chopped off and plain green showing after that. Totally unusable. So it’s a great match for the search engine which isn’t great either.

  3. John C. said on October 13, 2020 at 9:49 am

    They need to provide a direct link to their maps function. Or is there one? If so, I was unable to find it. DuckDuckGo also needs an advanced search page or else needs to find another search engine that respects Boolean logic.

  4. empirefall said on October 13, 2020 at 2:58 am

    DuckDuckGo Maps is based on OpenStreetMap

  5. William Seachild said on October 12, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    can’t never trust the shucky ducky, googoo knows who you am be thru them

  6. Tom Hawack said on October 12, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    Side-note slightly (only) off-topic, a Web search engine I’ve just discovered, valuable to the point i’ve made it my default Search provider :
    Runnaroo []

    Not as complete as DDG but IMO more pertinent results, aggregated from several other engines in a fast and obviously intelligent way. No cookie, no storage.
    Maps will be available via a dedicated menu by linking the search query to Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, Bing Maps, Apple Maps.

    End of digression.

  7. ULBoom said on October 11, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    Have to look more closely at DDG’s maps again. Last time (a few years ago) I did, they didn’t work too well yet. A quick look today was encouraging.

    Currently using Google Maps, still the best I know of but their head up your a** business practices are creepsville.

  8. Mothy said on October 11, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    Good to see the additional functionality as I use DuckDuckGo exclusively for Internet search. However I’ll have to stick to Google Maps yet since it provides route options (ex. avoid highways, tolls, etc), a traffic layer and street view all of which are of particular importance when on the motorcycle (ex. try to stay on less traveled back roads and avoid stop and go traffic). As for privacy, I’ve always tried to minimize data collection by never using Maps while logged in with a Google account as well as never storing any personal data (ex. home or work addresses. etc.) within the Maps app.

  9. Anonymous said on October 11, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    what a leecher. that’s what duckduckgo is.
    it leeches other people’s work.
    they leech microsoft for search, now they leech apple for maps?
    it’s easy to promise privacy for free when you don’t pay the bills for the development of these services and leech them.
    protomail is not a leech, you pay for your privacy and they don’t leech others.
    i hope they continue and offer simiral privacy services, protondrive, protosearch and maps.
    i won’t mind to pay for legit privacy like i pay my privacy focused mail.
    i don’t like leechers of others people work.

    1. ULBoom said on October 11, 2020 at 8:25 pm

      Hmmm. I pay for private email too but not Proton, a company that held my email hostage because my VPN subscription ended.

      I had their free email for a year, then purchased their VPN at which point my free email was auto-bundled with my new VPN service. When I quit subscribing to the VPN, they locked my emails instead of returning the account status to free, so I deleted my account. Not too good at the leverage game.

      They’re not very smart and upload without consent, crash data. Their funding sources are interesting, too.

      DDG? Weird conspiracy theory, really weird. They’re stealing something from Apple? Hah! About as plausible as stealing from Disney, doesn’t happen.

      1. Yet another Jason said on October 15, 2020 at 2:39 am

        @ULBoom: Can you explain what you mean about PM’s funding sources being interesting?

      2. Bryan said on October 12, 2020 at 8:11 am

        May I ask what email service you currently pay for?

      3. Trey said on October 13, 2020 at 12:43 am

        Not ULBoom, but – I looked a lot into moving my email and ended up going to Fastmail over Proton. They’re strong on privacy and implementation of alias’ is really awesome, as well as their other built-in tools. I’m not affiliated, just a happy customer.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on October 11, 2020 at 3:26 pm

      Are you certain that DDG does not pay the companies for API usage?

      1. Anonymous said on October 12, 2020 at 4:30 pm

        can you find anything about it martin?
        we know every detail about the microsoft-yahoo deal, i haven’t anything about this microsoft-duckduckgo deal apart for a vague “partnership” in duckduckgo website.
        btw it’s even more scary for me if there is a deal, microsoft is not in need of money, especially duckduckgo pennies, they want data.
        i pay for protonmail plus, it’s 5 € per month.

      2. silly people said on October 19, 2020 at 12:17 am


        You obviously don’t know, ranting away like a mad man. Ha.

  10. Anonymous said on October 11, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Use openstreetmaps for real map privacy. Marble is a local version. Duckduckgo is just those ad paid guys.

  11. Paul(us) said on October 11, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    Indeed a great improvement! But as a Dutchmen I am stil graving for a cycle route function.

    This duckduckgo maps would be even main number one to go to when Duckduckgo is building in a street vieuw level.
    Now I can use it to go to an location. But I have to explore on a streetlevel vieuw to better understain the surroundings with a outher brand software which I do not want to explore with.

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