DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused search engine, has launched the public beta of its new desktop browser for Windows, marking a significant step in its mission to provide users a more secure and private browsing experience.
Key Features and Enhancements
The DuckDuckGo browser aims to shield users from third-party tracking, targeted advertising, search query logging, and profiling. It achieves this through a variety of data protection and security enhancements that are active by default. According to the company, the Windows browser is already equipped with nearly all the privacy protections and everyday features that users know and trust from their iOS, Mac, and Android browsers.
The browser's features highlighted in the announcement include tracker blocking, smart encryption, cookie pop-up management, a “Fire” button to erase all browsing history and saved session information, built-in DuckDuckGo Email Protection, and a built-in YouTube player that allows users to watch ad-free videos without being tracked.
More Efficient Browsing Experience
DuckDuckGo claims that these privacy protection mechanisms and multi-level tracker blockers help its browser consume roughly 60% less data than Chrome, potentially also making the web browsing experience faster. The developer promises to add support for extensions to expand the functionality in future versions of the browser. Users can leverage a built-in password manager to manage secrets and auto-fill credentials on login pages at this stage.
While the current version of the DuckDuckGo browser for Windows is in beta, the company is working on bringing additional privacy features such as Fingerprinting Protection, Link Tracking Protection, and Referrer Tracking Protection to Windows users. The company also plans to add extension support in the future and is working on a feature to sync bookmarks and passwords between different devices.
DuckDuckGo Browser vs Chrome, Edge and Co.
Unlike Chromium-based browsers, which are all forks of the open-source Chromium project, DuckDuckGo's browser is not a fork of any other browser code. All of its code, including tab and bookmark management, the new tab page, and the password manager, is written by DuckDuckGo's own engineers. This allows DuckDuckGo to have full control over the features and privacy protections it offers.
Both DuckDuckGo and Chromium-based browsers use the Blink rendering engine for web page rendering. However, DuckDuckGo uses the underlying operating system rendering API, specifically a Windows WebView2 call, to utilize the Blink rendering engine. This approach may offer more compatibility and performance benefits.
DuckDuckGo also emphasizes that its default privacy protections are stronger than what Chrome and most other Chromium-based browsers offer. While Chromium-based browsers have been criticized for their privacy practices, particularly around data collection and tracking, DuckDuckGo has built its browser with a focus on privacy and security. For example, DuckDuckGo ensures that crash reports are not sent to Microsoft, a privacy issue specific to WebView2.