DuckDuckGo browser is coming to macOS and Windows

Ashwin
Dec 22, 2021
Browsers
|
40

A new entrant is emerging in the browser wars, but from a familiar source. The makers of the privacy-focused search engine, DuckDuckGo, have revealed that they are working on a desktop browser.

DuckDuckGo browser is coming to macOS and Windows

This isn't a completely new area to the company, as DuckDuckGo has a browser for Android.

Speaking of which, the search provider claims that its app is the most downloaded browsing app on Android in its major markets, and the 2nd on iOS.  With over 100 million searches a day, DuckDuckGo boasts a sizeable user-base.

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What features will the DuckDuckGo desktop browser offer to users?

It won't rely on complicated settings that users will need to configure to secure their privacy. The announcement on the official website says that the browser will offer robust privacy protection, that works out of the box, to protect users when they search, browse, email, etc.

Earlier this year, DuckDuckGo introduced Email Protection, a free email-forwarding service which you can use instead of your regular email, and still get the mails delivered to your inbox sans trackers, which sounds better than Firefox Relay. Last month, the company unveiled its App Tracking Protection for Android. The feature blocks third-party trackers that are found in other apps. Since the announcement article says that the desktop browser will offer a similar experience as its mobile counterpart, we can expect these options to be included in the desktop browser, along with the Privacy Dashboard, Fireproof Site option (clears cookies automatically), Global Privacy Protection, etc.

The first screenshot featured here shows a Fire button just like the mobile app, which provide a one-click solution to erase the browsing data and history. The toolbar looks minimalistic with just the navigation buttons on it, while the address bar shows a shield icon, possibly for accessing the Privacy Dashboard. The image is likely just a placeholder, the actual product could look different, so I wouldn't judge it until testing it first-hand.

DuckDuckGo mobile browser features

What engine does the DuckDuckGo desktop browser use?

The announcement on the brand's website says that it is not forking Chromium or others (Firefox's Gecko), and instead will rely on the API for the OS-provided rendering engines. That is quite cryptic, isn't it? Allison Johnson, Senior Communications Manager at DuckDuckGo, gave a statement to The Verge. The message reads as follows, “macOS and Windows both now offer website rendering APIs (WebView/WebView2) that any application can use to render a website. That’s what we’ve used to build our app on desktop."

So, the DuckDuckGo browser will be based on the WebView2 engine, which is used in Microsoft Edge. Similarly, it will use Safari's Webkit rendering engine on Apple's macOS. How's this different from a fork?

DuckDuckGo's browser is built from scratch, to discard the clutter from the OS-provided application. This also means everything else in the browser, such as tabs, bookmark management, navigation controls, passwords, are being re-built.

Where can I download the DuckDuckGo browser for computers?

There is no ETA for the app, the browser is currently in closed beta for macOS (as seen in the screenshot), while a Windows version is still in the works. There is no word about a Linux version.

Whether DuckDuckGo's desktop browser will be able to compete in an already saturated market dominated by the likes of Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, Vivaldi, Opera and Brave, is something only time will answer. Microsoft Edge's aggressive tactics needs to be tackled with, so it's nice to have another alternative that will likely convince users to switch from it and Chrome, but the same could happen with regard to other privacy-friendly browsers like Firefox, Vivaldi, Waterfox, etc.

I'm curious to see if the DuckDuckGo desktop browser will support extensions and add-on stores. A built-in tracker blocker is nice, but an option to install third-party plugins like uBlock Origin would be even better.

Summary
DuckDuckGo browser is coming to macOS and Windows
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DuckDuckGo browser is coming to macOS and Windows
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DuckDuckGo desktop browser is coming to macOS and Windows. Here's what we know about it.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Narina said on December 22, 2021 at 2:45 pm
    Reply

    Martin
    i am using duckduckgo search engine should i install the plugin

  2. common sense computing said on December 22, 2021 at 3:53 pm
    Reply

    Another browser to bicker over!

    1. Richard Allen said on December 22, 2021 at 4:29 pm
      Reply

      How Dare You! ;)

  3. Tom Hawack said on December 22, 2021 at 6:06 pm
    Reply

    – Wht would I install Windows 11 when Windows 7 fullfills it all, here?
    – To be able to run the DDG Browser on your PC!
    – Any other good reason?
    – Not that I see …

    1. Jhonny said on December 27, 2021 at 7:28 am
      Reply

      Its because Windows 7 had already lost its privacy. It don’t even get security updates.
      If you use Windows 7 just for a simple tasks without getting online then surely go for it.
      But if you use wifi, or internet connection on the daily basis, then my man you are still living in the past.
      The Windows 7 is not safe.
      At-least upgrade your OS above windows 7 or use Linux.

  4. microfix said on December 22, 2021 at 6:52 pm
    Reply

    The privacy conscious using Windows 10/11 for DDGBrowser…the irony of it

    1. Sundararajan said on December 22, 2021 at 9:29 pm
      Reply

      @microfix

      > The privacy conscious using Windows … the irony

      How exactly did Windows violate your privacy? Their collection of diagnostic data is very transparently documented in detail.

      1. Anonymous said on January 2, 2022 at 8:35 pm
        Reply

        REALLY ??? You must be one of these still sleeping ppl right ? c’mon man, how windows is NOT violating privacy ? ;-()…;-))

        RESPONDING TO :

        “@microfix

        > The privacy conscious using Windows … the irony

        How exactly did Windows violate your privacy? Their collection of diagnostic data is very transparently documented in detail.”

  5. Neutrino said on December 22, 2021 at 7:20 pm
    Reply

    “Microsoft Edge’s aggressive tactics needs to be tackled with…”

    …by an Amazon stored, reskinned Bing search, founded by a guy who:

    “was also behind a social network called Names Database, which collected the real names and addresses of its users. He then sold Names Database (and all the user data) to Classmates.com for “approximately $10 million in cash” in March 2006.”

    No, thank you!

    1. Sebas said on December 22, 2021 at 8:02 pm
      Reply

      Exactly. Edge 2.0. In disguise.

    2. ZooWatcher said on December 23, 2021 at 12:40 am
      Reply

      @Neutrino
      I was going to post exactly the same, I find it interesting people blindly trust DDG like that when the CEO was selling people’s information.
      I mean… you are only touching one point about the CEO’s past that now plays the “I care about privacy” marketing scheme.

      You didn’t touch any DDG problem like when every page you typed and visited was getting stored in DDG servers.

      Or the fact that they are like any other big tech company that wants to censor whatever they want to censor, so they are not even useful as an anticensorship company.
      I remember watching they “mistakenly” (because they apologized wink wink) hiding Revolvernews website while Searx showed it, and also how they modify image search results because “offensive content” (not illegal or obsene) so someone was feeling “hurt” by the search results DDG apologized and manipulated the results.

      So they manipuale, they lie, they spy, they have a dark past, they have partnerships with weird companies, they even use Microsoft services and Cloudflare and Verizon/Yahoo and all that history about DDG.

      Just reading who DDG donates to, should rise the red flag about the company. Even just reading how they got the duck domain even if it belonged to Google, should really make people think about DDG.

      There used to be a post couple years ago about some of the weird crap about DDG, but it was removed sometime ago, but it can still be read here.

      https://web.archive.org/web/20201110102022/https://dev.lemmy.ml/post/31321

      DDG is not better than any company they are supposedly fighting with the fake marketing scheme called “privacy”.

      1. Trey said on December 23, 2021 at 11:15 am
        Reply

        Zoowatcher – here is a list of their donations. Which ones do you find abhorrent?

        https://duckduckgo.com/donations

      2. TimmyToolTang said on December 23, 2021 at 10:58 pm
        Reply

        @Trey lol nice try, I never said “abhorrent”. But if you want to know, half of those “organizations” are paid by rich people to promote their agendas that have nothing to do with privacy.
        It is like when people bring dumb crap like Ecosia, and they apparently aren’t smart enough to understand most of their talk is about everything but they use trees as a smoke screen, a fishy scammy business for sure since they clearly don’t “plant” trees themselves and nobody has even done a review on those organizations getting paid to supposedly plant trees.

        Buch of trojan horses with the marketing (lie) scheme about “privacy” (like if you would really have any privacy when you are online… and even offline) and all they do is pushing anything but real privacy, and they don’t touch real subjects like censorship which is a real problem today.

        You might not care about who they donate to, I do, because it shows what they want to support in the end. And I have seen enough evidence not to trust the company.

        And you only focused on that one? I mean, I pointed out and even gave the link to many other points that make DuckDuckGo fishier than many companies out there. Aren’t you going to talk about anything else?
        What about the scammy CEO duckduckgo has? do you think he redeemed himself and decided to make business now about “privacy” when he was making money 15 years ago to sell people’s info?

        @DeepQGo
        Oh sure… you didn’t even probably know they were storing all your searched in DDG servers? or you did but decided to say “oh that’s not against users”? Seems like you are kind of ignorant, because you talk but don’t know much about duckduckgo.
        I mean, there is still not explanation how DDG got the Duck domain that Google… did google was nice and gave them the rights or something? sold it to them?
        Maybe it is like Mozilla, the ones who talk about privacy and love talking against Google, yet, they love getting half billion dollars.

        Blind people are the worst, better be honest and be like “yeah they probably suck but they can’t be worst than Google or Microsoft (even if they use Bing for their search engine indexer and then give information to Microsoft”… just be honest, stop pretending nothing can be held against DuckDuckGo, when they have caught censoring content on top of Bing, not respecting user’s privacy information, and they seem like another company using privacy as a marketing scheme but it is nothing more than a propaganda and a trojan horse for anything but privacy.

      3. DeepQGo said on December 24, 2021 at 1:23 pm
        Reply

        @TimmyToolTang

        > you didn’t even probably know they were storing all your searched in DDG servers?

        You’re so smart. How did you get this classified information?

        > We save searches not in a personally identifiable way, as we do not store IP addresses or unique User agent strings. We use aggregate, non-personal search data to improve things like misspellings.

        https://duckduckgo.com/privacy

        What’s your problem with that?

        > marketing scheme
        > nothing more than a propaganda
        > trojan horse

        These are nothing more than sad projections of your ugly worldview and neurotic fears. No evidence, just a bunch of speculations and value judgments.

        > Blind people

        Yeah, and only you can see everything with an unclouded look. Buddy, when you see what other people can’t see, it’s called delusions. Usually such visionaries stand on the square in rags, shouting “Behold!”

      4. Neutrino said on December 23, 2021 at 1:41 pm
        Reply

        @ZooWatcher
        DDG is what they call ‘a controlled opposition’. The convenient and safe ‘alternative’ to attract less informed people with buzz words like ‘privacy’.
        There is a reason why it is included in the search list by every browser, including Chrome and Edge – because it’s safe.

      5. DeepQGo said on December 23, 2021 at 6:20 pm
        Reply

        > to attract less informed people

        LOL. As if you yourself are informed about something other than your delirious fantasies about *them* based on ramblings about the Grand scheme of things with Amazon-Verizon-Yahoo-Cloudflare-2006-social-network-startup entangled in the fevered mind of some schizo.

        DDG has never done anything against its users.

      6. Neutrino said on December 23, 2021 at 10:53 pm
        Reply

        “DDG has never done anything against its users.”

        That’s what those people said prior to get f****d in 2006.
        But maybe I should edit my post, and replace “less informed” with “r******d” or “sheeple”?
        Go back to your fantasy world, Dolly

      7. DeepQGo said on December 24, 2021 at 1:50 am
        Reply

        @Neutrino

        > Go back to your fantasy world, Dolly

        I’m not sure if you understand the meaning of the word “fantasy,” daddy.

        All you’re talking about is your speculation that DDG is allegedly made with bad intentions and misleading users. So far, it’s only in your head.

        In reality,

        * DDG is not The Names Database. And not even a social network.
        * This is not 2006.
        * DDG is bound by its privacy policy and strict laws of the world’s most advanced legal power, the United States.
        * There have been no violations of this policy or legal actions in the entire history of the search engine. This is called a solid reputation earned by honest blood and sweat.

        On the other side, all that you present is your noname’s empty speculation, hatred of people (“r******d”), and persecutory ideas.

        Good luck spending another fifteen years in fear of your own fantasies, pleasing yourself with the thought that you’re smarter than “sheeple,” if it helps to compensate for problems with self-esteem.

    3. ULBoom said on December 24, 2021 at 2:03 pm
      Reply

      Glad this died quickly.

      Simple to learn dread, social media is fed by dread, much harder to sort through what matters, what’s even relevant and how to present all that cogently and usefully.

      We are great at finding risk, horrible at assessing and managing it.

  6. jeff-66 said on December 22, 2021 at 9:11 pm
    Reply

    DDG is a decent browser on Android, but on Windows, Vivaldi has won me over of late, and gotten to finally ditch Chrome, which has been very hard to do over the years.

    1. Neutrino said on December 22, 2021 at 9:58 pm
      Reply

      If you want to use Vivaldi’s sync service, you need to make an account, which requires a phone number. Shady stuff. And, on top of that, it’s the slowest browser to use, stuffed to the rim with useless gimmicks.

      1. ZooWatcher said on December 23, 2021 at 12:45 am
        Reply

        @Neutrino you only need the phone number if you are going to use the Email service, the problem is they even include access to the email service directly from Vivaldi, it is not like a hidden thing they kept apart.

        I mean, Vivaldi’s problem is the annoying CEO they have that loves to talk crap and how their UI is so slow because they used the worst technology. so it is like running a browser inside an iframe which obviously will not perform well when you are watching many videos at once and are doing ‘heavy’ web things.

        But you are right, too much gimmick to even care about Vivaldi and their closed source slow UI. they don’t really fix the internet, they don’t do anything to stop Google from getting your data, of course the person was using chrome so it can’t be worst than that, but I mean, the person also make it sound like Google is this superior browser only vivaldi could do something about it, which is just awkward way of thinking when 100million browsers are chromium based, and some are like ungoogled chromium which is the same but without google stuff, so many alternatives to say Vivaldi was the best after Chrome.

      2. Anonymous said on December 23, 2021 at 4:12 am
        Reply

        you dont need phone number lol

  7. Dumbledalf said on December 22, 2021 at 9:17 pm
    Reply

    The mobile browser is useless, because it doesn’t have any ad-blocking capabilities. Neither it comes with a built-in ad-blocker, nor does it support importing filter lists with rules.

    Who cares about tracking protection when you get bombarded with ads, pop-ups and cookie prompts.

    The desktop browser better support extensions or nobody is going to use it.

    1. Anonymous said on December 23, 2021 at 12:31 am
      Reply

      Agree, but I still use it on mobile just for wiki or simple googling stuffs.

      It’s very fast and light because it has no features lol.

    2. ULBoom said on December 23, 2021 at 1:13 am
      Reply

      Use AdGuard for Android/iOS on mobile. It makes using a phone bearable, blocks in-app ads, too. Has to be sideloaded on Android but that’s easy.

      You do have to pay for it, lifetime family licenses (9 devices) are cheap and are on sale now in the store here.

      1. Dumbledalf said on December 23, 2021 at 7:46 am
        Reply

        @ULBoom,

        I was under the impression that AdGuard was only working with Samsung Internet Browser. I might have to check again.

      2. ShintoPlasm said on December 23, 2021 at 9:42 am
        Reply

        AdGuard as a standalone app (admittedly you need to pay for the premium features to be enabled) works with everything on Android, and can be installed directly from the APK provided on the devs’ website. The Samsung browser extension is just a heavily pared-down part of the full AdGuard experience.

      3. Anonymous said on December 23, 2021 at 11:00 am
        Reply

        you know free stuff exist right though less “power”…hint*hint*, “adguard dns”…”cough””cough”.

    3. Matti said on December 23, 2021 at 4:39 pm
      Reply

      The mobile browser has one use; to get an @duck address.
      I downloaded the browser on my mum’s iPhone to get her on the waitlist. Her @duck address came a week later. She’s not techy enough to operate SimpleLogin for aliases, so an @duck address was the next best thing I could think of for her.

      1. ULBoom said on December 24, 2021 at 2:17 pm
        Reply

        Matti,
        Kinda pointless since Safari is the only browser that works on iphones, others are overlays. Safari with the Focus extension is probably the most private you can go.

    4. ULBoom said on December 24, 2021 at 2:10 pm
      Reply

      Dumbledalf,
      Works on all our devices, windows, android (Moto, Pixel) and ipad OS (mod of iOS.)

      You will like it. A lot!

      English language sideload link for android:
      https://adguard.com/en/products.html

  8. Anonymous said on December 22, 2021 at 11:59 pm
    Reply

    We need a browser that’s not tied to any stupid manifest api versions and tech giants. Free of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla…

    1. ShintoPlasm said on December 23, 2021 at 9:42 am
      Reply

      Care to develop your own browser from scratch, then?

    2. ULBoom said on December 24, 2021 at 2:11 pm
      Reply

      Go for it! I’ll buy it.

  9. ULBoom said on December 23, 2021 at 1:07 am
    Reply

    Years later, I still have no idea what this thing is. I use DDG as my default search engine. The browser is variously based on chromium, firefox, safari, edge; each new revelation adds mystery. No SeaMonkey? Bah!

    They have browser extensions, those weird Bangs! things, email filter thingy, probably a VPN or two by now, so confusing!

    If DDG really did build an entirely new browser, that’s truly amazing but I still have no idea what this thing is.

    :)

  10. Gerard said on December 23, 2021 at 11:49 am
    Reply

    Another web browser, is that what we need? Aren’t there enough browsers?

  11. JohnIL said on December 23, 2021 at 3:56 pm
    Reply

    Yeah the saturated browser market needs another browser to fight for those single percentage of users. Seems like a lot of work for little gain if you ask me. Unless DDG plans to make money off the browser in some way?

    1. yawn said on December 24, 2021 at 9:11 am
      Reply

      The DDG browser will likely push their search engine, which “earns revenue by serving ads from the Yahoo-Bing search alliance network and through affiliate relationships with Amazon and eBay.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DuckDuckGo#Business_model

  12. ULBoom said on December 31, 2021 at 11:44 pm
    Reply

    Apparently it’s Chredge’s Chromium, no surprise there. A max version of Min Browser (Electron) more or less.

    From a reddit thread ( same found elsewhere in many places):

    …uses the Edge chromium Webview2 rendering engine provided by the OS.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/duckduckgo/comments/ro5uwv/duckduckgo_announces_its_own_desktop_web_browser/

    I don’t really expect great privacy from a search engine but not sure about DDG anymore. Magical exponentially increasing distribution is either BS or from lots of help.

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