DuckDuckGo’s privacy-focused web browser is now available for all Mac users to download via an open beta. It’s still all about keeping your personal information private, but it’s also adding some fascinating new features.
For the past few months, the company has been continuously working on a desktop version of the DuckDuckGo browser. Originally the Desktop Browser was launched as a closed beta back in April (opens in new tab), and it looks like everything that was there back then is included in this new version. This includes things like the “multiple layers of defense against third-party trackers”, according to the announcement (opens in new tab). The new features focus on improving the user experience, particularly by removing annoying ads on YouTube. The developers also added some basic browser features that were missing in the first beta, like a bookmark bar and pinned tabs.
You can install the browser on your Mac by going to DuckDuckGo website (opens in new tab) where the download should start automatically. Once installed, you can import your bookmarks and passwords from other browsers and password managers. A Windows version in development is currently only available for DuckDuckGo “Friends and Family”. The company expects a private beta for PC in the coming months.
Old and new features
Before we dive into what’s new, let’s briefly touch on the returning features.
The layers of defense mentioned earlier protect users from online tracking software and prevent companies from assigning you a unique identifier (known as a fingerprint) to follow you around the web. Cookies are also rejected to ensure complete privacy. The decisive factors are the Smarter Encryption tool, which encrypts your Internet connection, and the fire button (opens in new tab). The latter is pretty cool as it completely wipes all traces of a browser session from open tabs, caches, permissions and back button history. But you also have the option of making a website “fireproof” to protect its data from mass deletion.
Among the new tools, one of our favorites is Duck Player, which specifically stops ads and cookies that track users of YouTube videos. If an ad isn’t tracking people, it will play normally. But as it turns out, the vast majority of ads on YouTube videos are tracking people, so according to DuckDuckGo, most will disappear. A company representative told us that Duck Player only works on YouTube and “does not currently work with other services”.
DuckDuckGo has also tweaked its ad blocker to delete all spaces left by ads for a much cleaner look. And in the coming weeks, the browser will add support for Bitwarden, allowing users to integrate the password manager for extra protection.
The company is asking for feedback on how it can improve the browser. You can share your thoughts with the developers by clicking the three dots under the fire button. There you will find the Send Feedback tool.
In the announcement, DuckDuckGo briefly mentions how other browsers have lackluster tracking protection. It plays up too Recent news about incognito mode in Google Chrome isn’t very private. Developers at Google even joke that it’s bad, and this raises an interesting question about the integrity of online privacy. Are browser developers really that concerned about privacy?
DuckDuckGo isn’t the only browser focused on privacy. Mozilla Firefox and Opera have brought privacy closer to the center of their development efforts in recent years. but according to more recent data, privacy-oriented browsers have a hard time gaining a foothold with users. Mozilla goes so far as to accuse tech giants like Apple and Microsoft of “abusing their privileged position” by making it harder for users to switch browsers.
Until DuckDuckGo launches on Mac, there are other ways to increase online privacy. Be sure to stop by List of TechRadar’s Best Privacy Tools for 2022 to learn what they can do to protect you.
https://www.techradar.com/news/duckduckgo-browser-for-mac-beta-has-one-trick-youtube-might-not-like DuckDuckGo browser for Mac beta has one trick YouTube won’t like – but you will