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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Martin i am using duckduckgo search engine should i install the plugin
Another browser to bicker over!
– 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 …
The privacy conscious using Windows 10/11 for DDGBrowser…the irony of it
> 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.
“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.”
@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.
DDG is not better than any company they are supposedly fighting with the fake marketing scheme called “privacy”.
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.
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.
@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.
you dont need phone number lol
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.
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.
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.
I was under the impression that AdGuard was only working with Samsung Internet Browser. I might have to check again.
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.
We need a browser that’s not tied to any stupid manifest api versions and tech giants. Free of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla…
Care to develop your own browser from scratch, then?
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.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.