DuckDuckGo is working on a desktop version of its Privacy Browser app. This web browser has been available for a long time for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The desktop version will offer the same ‘robust security as the mobile application.
That’s what Gabriel Weinberg, the CEO of DuckDuckGo, promises in a weblog.
DuckDuckGo in a nutshell
DuckDuckGo is a privacy-friendly search engine. Unlike Google, DuckDuckGo does not collect as much personal information from users as possible in order to serve targeted advertisements. On the contrary: DuckDuckGo does not create user profiles and then sell them to advertisers.
The company’s search engine also blocks cross-site trackers: small files that closely monitor the surfing behaviour of internet users. Finally, DuckDuckGo has incorporated a Fire button into its mobile application. This acts as a kill switch, erasing your entire search and browsing history at once.
In 2020, DuckDuckGo’s search traffic grew by 62 per cent. This is partly due to the corona pandemic, which has made people think more consciously about their privacy. The new privacy conditions of WhatsApp have most likely also played a role in this.
New privacy features from 2021
In the blog, Weinberg looks back on the past year. In 2021 DuckDuckGo introduced several new privacy features. One of these is Email Protection, a service that removes invisible trackers from newsletters and other mailings. That’s how it works. People create an @duck.com email address. Commercial messages from webshops and other parties are delivered there and are stripped of invisible tracking pixels. The stripped-down message is then forwarded to users’ personal email addresses. The sender can then no longer track the online behaviour of their customers.
We saw another new privacy feature from DuckDuckGo in November: App Tracking Prevention. As the name suggests, this functionality prevents trackers from companies such as Google and Meta from seeing which apps you have installed on your smartphone or tablet. The CEO also talks about the improvement of the search results, the modern design of the search engine and a new browser extension that identifies trackers on web pages.
Desktop app is currently undergoing full testing
The director of DuckDuckGo ends his blog with a statement. His company is currently hard at work developing a desktop version of the Privacy Browser. The web browser is currently being tested for the macOS operating system. The browser will of course also be available for Windows.
Steinberg promises “no sophisticated settings, misleading warnings, or varying ‘levels’ of privacy protection”, but a “robust privacy protection that works by default when searching, surfing, emailing and more”. The desktop version is no ordinary privacy browser, according to the CEO: “It’s an everyday browsing app that respects your privacy because there’s never a bad time to stop companies from spying on your search and browsing history.”
The desktop version of DuckDuckGo’s web browser is not forked from Chromium but built from the ground up around the rendering engines that provide operating systems. This makes “unnecessary hassle and clutter that have accumulated over the years in the largest web browsers” a thing of the past. Like the mobile application, the desktop version gets the Fire button.
It is unknown when the desktop app will be released.
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