The DuckDuckGo Browser for Mac Beta Has a Trick YouTube Won’t Like – But You Will
DuckDuckGo’s privacy-focused web browser is now available for download through an open beta for all Mac users. It’s still about keeping your personal information private, but it also incorporates some intriguing new features.
Over the past few months, the company has steadily worked on a desktop version of the DuckDuckGo browser. Originally, the desktop browser launched in closed beta in April (opens in a new tab), and at first glance, everything that was present at the time is in this new version. This includes things like “multiple layers of defense against third-party trackers”, according to the ad (opens in a new tab). The new features are centered on improving user experience by removing annoying ads on YouTube in particular. The developers also added some basic browser features that were missing in the first beta, like a bookmarks bar and pinned tabs.
You can install the browser on your Mac by going to DuckDuckGo website (opens in a new tab) where the download should start automatically. During installation, you can import your bookmarks and passwords from other browsers and password managers. A Windows version under development is currently only available to “friends and family” of DuckDuckGo. The company said it expects a private beta for PC in the coming months.
Old and new features
Before we get into the new one, let’s briefly review the returning features.
The previously mentioned layers of defense protect users from online tracking software, preventing companies from assigning you a unique identifier (known as a fingerprint) as a means of tracking you across the Internet. Cookies are also rejected to ensure complete privacy. Returns are the Smarter Encryption tool, which encrypts your internet connection, and the fire button (opens in a new tab). The latter is pretty cool because it completely erases all traces of a browsing session from open tabs, caches, permissions, and back button history. But you also have the option of “fireproofing” a website to prevent its data from being mass deleted.
Among the new tools, one of our favorites is Duck Player which specifically stops ads and cookies that track users from YouTube videos. If an ad doesn’t follow people, it will run as normal. But it turns out that the vast majority of ads on YouTube videos follow people, so most will go away, according to DuckDuckGo. A company representative told us that Duck Player only works on YouTube and “won’t work with other services at this time.”
DuckDuckGo has also tweaked its ad blocker to erase any space left by ads for a much cleaner look. And in the coming weeks, the browser is adding support for Bitwarden, allowing users to integrate the password manager for additional protection.
The company is asking for feedback on how it can improve the browser. You can send your thoughts to the developers by clicking on the three dots under the fire button. There you will find the Send feedback tool.
The industry is suffocating
In the ad, DuckDuckGo briefly mentions how other browsers have poor tracking protection. He also alludes to the latest news about Incognito mode on Google Chrome not being very private. Google developers even joke that it’s mediocre, which raises an interesting question about the integrity of online privacy. Are browser developers really interested in privacy?
DuckDuckGo isn’t the only browser that focuses on privacy. Mozilla Firefox and Opera have, in recent years, placed privacy at the center of their development efforts. But according to recent data, privacy-focused browsers are struggling to gain traction with users. Mozilla goes so far as to accuse tech giants like Apple and Microsoft of “abusing their privileged position” by making it difficult for users to switch browsers.
Until DuckDuckGo launches on Mac, there are other ways to increase online privacy. Be sure to check List of TechRadar’s Best Privacy Tools for 2022 to find out what they can do to protect you.