Privacy oriented search engine DuckDuckGo today launched revamped versions of its browser extension and standalone mobile app, promising users seamless built-in tracker network blocking and smarter encryption.
The headline feature in both the DuckDuckGo browser extension and mobile app is a Privacy Grade rating (A-F) information card whenever a user visits a site. The rating aims to let them see at a glance how protected they are, while providing additional options to dig deeper into the details of blocked tracking attempts.
The generated Privacy Grade score for a website is based on the prevalence of hidden tracker networks, encryption availability, and any existing privacy practices, according to the internet privacy company.
The vast majority of websites across the Internet contain hidden tracker networks, with Google trackers now lurking behind 76% of pages, Facebook’s trackers on 24% of pages, and countless others soaking up your personal information to follow you with ads around the Web, or worse. Our Privacy Protection will block all the hidden trackers we can find, exposing the major advertising networks tracking you over time, so that you can track who's trying to track you.
Together, the privacy rating and tracking breakdowns aim to provide a more effective solution than installing multiple add-ons and apps on each device, while offering a more upfront level of privacy than common private browsing modes. Elsewhere, a new encryption protection feature automatically sends users to an encrypted version of a website when available, rather than defaulting to a non-encrypted version.
As expected, the new software releases also include DuckDuckGo's private search engine by default. The updated macOSbrowser extension is available now for Safari, Firefox, and Chrome, with the mobile iOS app a free download from the App Store. For further details on privacy measures implemented in the new releases, check out the DuckDuckGo website.
Top Rated Comments
[doublepost=1516718349][/doublepost] I switched about a year ago and after the usual transition to something new, found myself happy with the search results. It feels good not to be feeding Google's massive people-tracking machine.
The kids don't seem to care, and think everything will be fine and dandy, as if thousands of books and movies over the last century exploring the fickle nature of human organizations, and all the many ways you can wind up under foot, have made no impact whatsoever.
Perhaps it's been too long, and a new generation needs to learn by experience again.
Right now I’m using the excellent 1Blocker, which includes as part of its comprehensive privacy suite pretty robust tracker blocking integrated into iOS Safari. Users of good blocker utils may not need the DDG browser or extension. I’d be interested in a comparison.
I do however, have really mixed feelings about this new DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials. What I have a problem with is that they should have known better than to force a complete extension replacement onto users through an update -- unannounced. REALLY DuckDuckGo! What an idiotic decision for a privacy company who's reputation is everything. For this reason alone, I'll be waiting a while for them to explain themselves before recommending this new extension to anyone. Such a decision really makes me wonder about their management's ability to make trustworthy decisions. In the meantime, configuring DuckDuckGo as the default search provider in Firefox without using an extension to do so is the way to go.
I may eventually recommend it to all of my less technically savvy colleagues and clients as it will likely be an easier to use extension than a combination of EFF HTTPS Everywhere, EFF Privacy Badger, and uBlock Origin. The combination of these multiple extensions is simply too much for that majority of users to use without "breaking" their interweb and social media experience. Hopefully DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials can fill the same niche in a single, easy to use extension.
For those that understand how the web works though, I'm not going to change my extension recipe for browsing bliss. In my opinion it's hard to beat the combination of EFF's HTTPS Everywhere, uMatrix (with JS blocked in global scope), and just configuring DuckDuckGo as the Default/only search provider. Although it certainly takes some initial configuration for each site, I find that this is the best winning combination for security, privacy, and ad-blocking that I can come up with.
So, how many of you will give "DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials" a try as a replacement for the extensions you currently use? If not, what is your current combination of extensions that you find to be the best-of-class for security, privacy, and ad-blocking?
For all the Android users out there, it is available on Android as well.
I still won't use it, all my passwords and bookmarks are synced through Google Chrome.
I only use Chrome on all my devices, including iPads, Android, Windows