DuckDuckGo has recently released the public beta version of its browser for Windows, bringing more default privacy protections as well as a range of unique browsing features built by the DuckDuckGo team.
More than a year after the Mac beta version was released. The browser has a ton of privacy and security-related features, like an integrated password manager and an ad blocker, as you might expect from DuckDuckGo. Duck Player, a native video player included with the new browser, can disable tracking cookies and personalize YouTube advertising. As stated in DuckDuckGo’s blog post, this involves a Windows WebView2 call that utilizes the Blink rendering engine. Interestingly, the browser identifies itself as Microsoft Edge when scanned by most header-scanning websites.
Here are some of the following feature to see on the browser.
- Duck Player, which allows users to watch (most) YouTube videos “without privacy-invading ads” and eliminates personalized recommendations.
- Tracker blocking, surpassing the capabilities of other browsers by impeding third-party trackers.
- Enforced encryption.
- The “fire button,” enabling users to instantly close all tabs and delete website data.
- Cookie pop-up management, which automatically selects the private option and conceals “I accept” pop-ups.
- Email protection, simplifying the utilization of a duck.com address for auto-forwarding on web forms.
Due to its pre-blocking of trackers, DuckDuckGo claims that its browser uses “approximately 60% less data than Chrome.” The browser heavily depends on Windows updates to ensure security because it is designed using Windows’ own rendering engine.
DuckDuckGo doesn’t have as many addons as other popular and even less popular browsers. DDG contends that its current password management, ad-blocking tools, and Duck Player already meet the requirements of two typical extension use cases and that it will only provide extension support “in the future” rather than at this time. Peter Dolanjski, the product director, also says that more features like tab pinning, HTML bookmark import, and password/bookmark syncing are in the works and will be released shortly.
In line with some of its other apps and extensions, Dolanjski says DuckDuckGo plans to open-source its browser. He also highlights on the efforts taken by the company’s engineers to solve privacy issues unique to WebView2, such as making sure that crash reports are not routed to Microsoft. So far, DuckDuckGo’s relationship with Microsoft and Bing has been interesting because DDG relies on them for search results and advertising while also having doubts about some Microsoft trackers.