DuckDuckGo has made its Windows browser with a focus on privacy available to the general public. There are no restrictions on downloading this beta version.
The web browser from DuckDuckGo claims to shield users from third-party tracking, targeted advertising, logging of search queries, and profiling. It comes pre-activated with a number of data security and protection enhancements to accomplish this.
The announcement reads, “Our desktop browser for Windows is officially in public beta starting today – no invite codes, no waiting list, just a fast, lightweight browser that makes the Internet less creepy and less cluttered.”
“DuckDuckGo for Windows is already equipped with nearly all the privacy protections and everyday features that users know and trust from our iOS, Mac, and Android browsers – and it’s getting closer to parity with those browsers every day.”
Version 0.30 (beta) of the DuckDuckGo desktop browser was released for the Mac platform in October 2022. It was used as a smaller testbed to fix major issues before the Windows version entered its public beta phase.
The announcement highlights the following features of the browser:
- Tracker blocking – Blocks all third-party trackers in DuckDuckGo’s privacy-threatening trackers list and offers superior protection against first-party tracking took.
- Smart encryption – Automatic HTTPS upgrading for every site the user attempts to visit, using an open-source crawler.
- Cookie pop-up management – Hide cookie consent pop-ups designed to trick or even coerce users into accepting an option offering the least privacy, defaulting to dialog rejection and ensuring that the most privacy-respecting settings are used.
- “Fire” button – Erase all browsing history and saved session information with the clicking of a button.
- Email Protection – Built-in DuckDuckGo Email Protection, an email forwarding solution that strips emails from advertising and profiling trackers before the messages arrive on the user’s regular inbox.
- Duck player – Built-in YouTube player that allows users to watch ad-free videos on Google’s platform without being tracked.
DuckDuckGo asserts that its browser consumes approximately 60% less data than Chrome thanks to the aforementioned privacy protection mechanisms and multi-level tracker blockers, potentially speeding up web browsing.
In order to improve the browser’s functionality in subsequent versions, the developer has promised to include extension support. However, at this point, users can make use of a built-in password manager to manage secrets and set up auto-fill login credentials.
It is essential to keep in mind that this Windows version of the DuckDuckGo browser is still in beta (download it here), which means that issues with instability and performance are to be expected.