DuckDuckGo to Release Private Browser for Mac in 2022

On Tuesday, DuckDuckGo shared its review of achievements and improvements in 2021. Looking ahead, the company plans to release a private browser for the desktop.

Instead of forking Chromium or anything else, we’re building our desktop app around the OS-provided rendering engines (like on mobile), allowing us to strip away a lot of the unnecessary cruft and clutter that’s accumulated over the years in major browsers. With our clean and simple interface combined with the beloved Fire Button from our mobile app, DuckDuckGo for desktop will be ready to become your new everyday browsing app.

Most Browser Tracking Protection Isn’t Very Effective by Default

DuckDuckGo wrote on Tuesday that most browser tracking protection doesn’t stop tracking by default. There are multiple ways to track people besides third-party cookies, for example.

The issue is that once such trackers are loaded in your browser, they have a ton of ways to track you beyond just third-party cookies (e.g., by another form of cookies called first-party cookies, by your IP address, and much, much more).

Therefore, to really stop a cross-site tracker, the kind that tries to track your activity from site to site, you have to prevent it from actually loading in your browser in the first place.

Of course, the post is a plug for the DuckDuckGo browser extension, but the details behind tracking are good to know.

DuckDuckGo Publishes List of Privacy Tools for Remote Work

Earlier this month I wrote an article covering five private Zoom alternatives. Today DuckDuckGo published a similar list, although it’s not focused on Zoom. I think it’s a good list.

As a remote-first Internet privacy company, we firmly believe that working outside of a traditional office setting should not compromise your privacy. To that end, we’ve rounded up some useful privacy-respecting tools and important settings that you can confidently utilize while working remotely.

DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption will Serve You HTTPS Sites

The DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption feature will automatically give you the encrypted HTTPS version of websites as they are available.

It’s available on DuckDuckGo’s mobile browser for Android and iOS, and through the company’s desktop browser extension for Firefox and Chrome. DuckDuckGo is also open sourcing the code behind the feature so other sites and platforms can adopt it as well. First up? Pinterest.

I especially like how they’re open-sourcing it for others to use.

DuckDuckGo Survey Shows People Taking Action on Privacy

A recent survey (n=1,114) by DuckDuckGo found that 79.2% of U.S. adults had taken privacy measures in the past year, like adjusting privacy settings on social media or just using social media less.

43.1% (± 2.9) removed personal information or posts that they didn’t want the network or others to see.

35.0% (± 2.8)made their profile completely private.

34.8% (± 2.8) stopped adding location tags to their posts.

38.2% (± 2.8) changed which data they allow the network to collect and share about them.

I think it’s great to see more people paying attention to their privacy. For most people, privacy is something that you don’t notice often until you start losing it.

DuckDuckGo Apple Maps Updated for Enhanced Search

The DuckDuckGo Apple Maps integration has been updated for enhanced search, like maps re-querying, local autocomplete, and more.

With Apple, as with all other third parties we work with, we do not share any personally identifiable information such as IP address. And for local searches in particular, where your approximate location information is sent by your browser to us, we discard it immediately after use. This is in line with our strict privacy policy. You can read more about our anonymous localized results here.

I was happy to see the integration and look forward to these updates. Apple is a good partnership for DuckDuckGo.

DuckDuckGo Version 7.15.0 Adds Automatic Data Scrubbing, Keyboard Shortcuts

In DuckDuckGo’s app it has a button to clear your tabs and history. In DuckDuckGo version 7.15.0 it added an option to clear it away automatically the next time the app restarts. It also added keyboard shortcuts for iPad users.

• You can now have your tabs and data cleared automatically. Go to settings to configure this feature.
• Support for external keyboards with a range of shortcuts. See the full list below.
• Support for international and emoji based URLs
• Bug fixes and improvements

Keyboard shortcuts:
• Cmd-T or Cmd-N to open a new tab
• Cmd-W to close tab
• Shift-Cmd-] and Shift-Cmd-[ or Ctrl-Tab and Ctrl-Shift-Tab to move to the next/previous tab
• Ctrl-Shift-\ or Cmd-Shift-\ to show all tabs
• Esc to cancel typing in the address bar OR close the tab switcher OR close the suggestions
• Enter to select the current tab and close the tab switcher
• Cmd-[ and Cmd-] or Cmd-Right Arrow and Cmd-Left Arrow to move back/forward
• Alt-Cmd-F to edit address field
• Up/Down Arrow to navigate auto complete suggestions and tabs in the tab-switcher
• Cmd-Alt-Backspace to quickly delete all your tabs and data

Browser Fingerprinting? DuckDuckGo says DuckDuckNo!

In a Whonix forum a person alleged that DuckDuckGo was using browser fingerprinting techniques to track people. The search engine denies the claim however.

“Fingerprinting-detection libraries unfortunately create false positives because they don’t anticipate good actors using some browser APIs for non-nefarious purposes for which they were designed. We know this not only because we’re falsely identified here (and have been elsewhere) but because we are building this type of detection into our mobile app and browser extension and don’t similarly want to make false claims.”

DuckDuckGo CEO Gabe Weinberg said an API they use to determine the size of the browser might be triggering the fingerprinting flag.