DuckDuckGo is best known for its privacy-focused search engine that doesn’t track user data. But DuckDuckGo also offers privacy-focused web browsers for Android and iOS as well as extensions for desktop browsers.
Now DuckDuckGo has released its first full-fledged desktop web browser. DuckDuckGo for Mac is now available in beta, and the company says a Windows version will be available soon.
The company first announced it was working on desktop browsers late last year and, as expected, DuckDuckGo for Mac puts privacy features front and center. Among other things, it includes:
- Integration with DuckDuckGo’s search engine
- Tracker blocking
- Cookie pop-up protection
- One-click clearing of data for specific websites with a Fire Button
- Preference for HTTPS versions of websites when available
- History, bookmarks, and passwords are stored locally and not shared with DuckDuckGo
While DuckDuckGo designed the browser in-house rather than forking an open source browser like Google’s Chromium or Mozilla’s Firefox, the browser doesn’t have its own rendering engine. Instead it uses the rendering engine built into your computer’s operating system. So on Macs, that means the DuckDuckGo Browser is using the same WebKit rendering engine as Safari. On Windows, it will most likely use the same rendering engine as Microsoft Edge (which, in turn, is based on Google’s Chromium).
There are currently no plans to release a DuckDuckGo Browser for Linux, but the company hasn’t ruled out doing so in the future.
At this point the software is still in beta and you’ll need to add your name to a private waitlist to get access. You can find instructions for doing that in the launch announcement (basically you need to install the mobile app and then sift through some settings until you find the option).
Some features on the roadmap also aren’t available yet. There’s no support for third-party browser extensions yet, for example. But, as DuckDuckGo notes, many of the most popular extensions are ad and tracker blockers and password managers… both of which are built into the company’s new browser.
While you cannot sync passwords from the DuckDuckGo Browser beta for Mac with other devices yet, you can import passwords from third-party password managers including LastPass, 1Password, and other browsers.