DuckDuckGo, the trailblazing search engine renowned for its unwavering commitment to user privacy, has taken another stride in its mission to provide secure online experiences. The company has officially released its highly anticipated browser for Windows users, bringing its privacy-focused browsing solution to a wider audience. This significant expansion comes approximately nine months after DuckDuckGo launched its browser for Mac users.
With its latest browser release, DuckDuckGo remains steadfast in its pledge to uphold user privacy and data protection. As with its previous offerings, the Windows browser refrains from collecting user data and avoids tracking their online activities, ensuring a safer and more private browsing experience.
The DuckDuckGo browser closely resembles popular browsers such as Chrome and Edge, featuring a familiar layout with a row of tabs and a prominent search box for entering URLs and queries. By default, the browser integrates DuckDuckGo’s privacy-oriented search engine, guaranteeing user anonymity. However, for users who prioritize browser privacy over search privacy, the option to change the default search engine is available. Additionally, DuckDuckGo’s browser introduces unique features, including Duck Player—a YouTube viewer that strips away ad targeting, tracking, and recommendations from YouTube pages.
According to Peter Dolanjski, DuckDuckGo’s product director, the development of the Windows app has been a long-standing project. The extended timeline can be attributed to the team’s relative inexperience with Windows development and the intricacies of the Windows ecosystem, which encompasses diverse hardware configurations, software variations, touchscreens, and screen resolutions. Dolanjski explains, “All of that just takes a long time to work through to make sure it’s working well.” Built on Windows’ WebView2 technology, the DuckDuckGo browser utilizes the Blink rendering engine, shared by renowned browsers such as Chrome.
The inclusion of Windows as a supported platform marks a significant milestone for DuckDuckGo, as it now offers a formidable cross-platform browser capable of rivaling popular alternatives like Chrome and Edge. With compatibility across Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac devices, DuckDuckGo ensures that users can protect their data consistently, regardless of their browsing platform. While the Windows app is currently in the beta stage and lacks certain features such as extension support, Dolanjski assures users that these functionalities will be promptly added.
Although DuckDuckGo initially gained recognition as a privacy-oriented search engine, CEO Gabriel Weinberg envisions a broader role for the company. Describing DuckDuckGo as “the easy button for privacy,” Weinberg believes that search alone is insufficient to address the full spectrum of privacy concerns, such as targeted ads and unauthorized data collection. By developing its own web browser, DuckDuckGo aims to provide users with a comprehensive solution for browsing the internet more securely. Weinberg emphasizes that convincing users to switch entirely from Chrome to DuckDuckGo’s browser is easier than encouraging them to install a Chrome extension.
Weinberg further predicts a diminishing distinction between browsers and search engines, highlighting the increasing integration of services within existing browsers like Edge, Chrome, and Brave. These tighter integrations often make it challenging for users to switch between different platforms seamlessly. In contrast, DuckDuckGo’s strategy revolves around enticing users to download their browser, enabling access to a range of privacy-focused services. Both Weinberg and Dolanjski express confidence in DuckDuckGo’s ability to develop a browser that is not only simpler and more private but also replete with innovative features. Weinberg cites email protection as one example of future enhancements, while Dolanjski hints at the possibility of introducing additional tools akin to Duck Player. Importantly, these features will prioritize user protection and visibility.