DuckDuckGo is best known for its privacy-focused search engine. But the company also makes browser extensions and full-fledged web browsers for Android, iOS, Mac, and now Windows.

After launching a desktop app for Mac users last year, DuckDuckGo has released a public beta of the DuckDuckGo Browser for Windows. Unsurprisingly the key features that set it apart from other browsers are mostly about privacy: there’s built-in protection from trackers, cookie consent pop-up windows, and even a video player specifically designed to let you watch YouTube videos without ads or tracking.

DuckDuckGo says its browser isn’t a fork of any other web browsers like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. But it does rely on “the underlying operating system rendering API,” which means it uses the same Blink rendering engine to load web pages as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

But DuckDuckGo says that unlike Chrome or Edge, the DuckDuckGo Browser is built from the ground up with an emphasis on privacy. So while it’s using the Windows Webview2 API, crash report data isn’t sent to Microsoft.

The browser also blocks 3rd-party trackers from loading, offers optional support for automatically choosing the most privacy-oriented options from cookie consent windows and then closing the pop-ups, and a “Fire” button that lets you delete all recent browsing data with a single-click (you can mark specific pages as fireproof if you want to stay logged in).

Duck Player, meanwhile, is a built-in video player that shows up as an option when you visit YouTube, allowing you to play videos in a distraction-free window with no ads on the screen or in the videos themselves.

Watching a video also won’t affect YouTube’s recommendations for other videos you might want to see, since YouTube cannot track your Duck Player viewing history.

Duck Player does not seem to work with YouTube videos embedded on third-party websites, although if you right-click a video and choose to open it in another tab, it can automatically open in a Duck Player window.

And, of course, the browser uses DuckDuckGo as its default search engine. In fact, if there’s a way to change your default search engine to something else, I haven’t found it yet.

DuckDuckGo for Windows is still a work in progress, thus the beta tag. At launch, for example, there’s no support for browser extensions. The developers note that many of the features people regularly use extensions for are already baked-in, including ad blocking (tracker blocking effectively eliminates most ads even if it’s not explicitly an ad blocker) and password management.

The browser does allow you to import bookmarks and passwords from other browsers or password managers like 1Password, Bitwarden, and LastPass. But folks who prefer to use those third-party tools over built-in password managers may need to wait for DuckDuckGo to add browser extension support before switching to the new browser full time.

via DuckDuckGo Blog

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  1. Finally a piece about DDG so I can vent. Not so privacy centered, plus, I always get ads in every page for places unrelated to my search at all – in my city. I find it creepy.

    They along with Apple made SO MUCH noise about being so privacy focused a couple years ago. One might say they made too much noise about being so private (as in, I think it’s all B.S.) One might also see DDG as the “lesser evil”, but they’re still evil.

    1. I’ve been using librewolf…seems to be running fine. Not perfect mind you, still a little rough around the edges, but overall doable.

    2. Just beware and use common sense please. Any company that tries to push their ‘app’, when you can easily do the same with a keyboard, monitor and mouse, be weary of. My honest opinion, this is all a prelude to a digital identity where all your data can be tracked to a centralized location. Try to stick with decentralized services if you can (just my advise).
      Even Microsoft wants you to believe, with every new iteration of Windows, that privacy is an illusion, which is why I strongly advocate for open source.
      I’m just saying. DDG was pushing tv ads about being so “private” and pushing their ‘app’ so hard.
      Just think about it. How many billions of cameras and microphones are people carrying in their pockets around the world? The more things become centralized, the more of a survellience state the world becomes.
      Just use your common sense. I’m of the type that even though I have nothing to hide, I still don’t want to share it with anyone. I believe in privacy, and I miss the old internet so much you have no idea.
      The younger generation doesn’t care, but older people like me care more. I absolutely hate what the internet has become.
      Firefox is just as bad. A lot of privacy focused stuff is opt-out, and they still send crap loads of data when you browse. (just take a look at ‘telemetry’ inside about:config).
      Just beware of big tech.

      (and p.s. thanks Brad for this site, seriously).

      1. “Nothing to hide but everything to protect”.

        With the exception of the geolocation services provider (which is disabled by default anyway but can be cleared out in about:config), GNU IceCat seems a reasonable approach to Firefox’s settings?

        1. I’ve never used IceCat so I know nothing about it. I personally use Falkon with firejail and it serves my purposes.

          Unfortunately, I have to use firefox with noscript disabled to post here, but otherwise I use Falkon with everything disabled.

  2. duckduckgo engages in censorship so not really worth using, Brave search is only remaining engine that is censorship free and privacy focused.

    1. I don’t really trust Brave’s crypto nonsense and it also wants access to your Gnome Keyring. Does anyone know wth is that about?

      Also I don’t care too much for its interface. Other than that Brave is a tolerable browser.