DuckDuckGo, the privacy-centric search engine, has announced the beta launch of its new web browser for Windows, expanding its range of offerings beyond its current iOS, Mac, and Android versions. The release comes nine months after the public launch of the browser for Mac users, underscoring the company’s commitment to providing enhanced privacy options to users across different platforms.
The DuckDuckGo Windows browser includes a number of privacy features aimed at enhancing user security. These include the Duck Player, a unique YouTube player that allows users to watch videos without ads and prevents the videos watched from impacting the user’s recommendation list. The browser also features Tracker Blocking, which preempts hidden trackers from major corporations like Google and Facebook from loading. The browser introduces the Fire Button, enabling users to erase their recent browsing history with a single click while offering a “Fireproof” option for sites where users want to stay logged in.
The Windows browser also includes its own password manager that can automatically remember and fill in login credentials. The browser suggests secure passwords for new logins, a feature expected to become even more convenient with the upcoming launch of private syncing across devices. This feature will allow users to sync their bookmarks and saved passwords across different devices, enhancing both security and convenience.
A distinct feature of DuckDuckGo’s new browser is its alternative to ad blockers. The browser blocks invasive trackers before they load, effectively reducing the number of ads displayed. The company promises a clean, distraction-free look as the browser also removes the whitespace left behind by those ads, eliminating the need for an external ad blocker.
However, a few features present in the iOS, Mac, and Android versions of the browser are missing in the initial release of the Windows version. These include Link Tracking, Referrer Tracking Protection, Embedded Social Content Tracking Protection, and Google-Specific Web Tracking Protections. DuckDuckGo has stated that these features are on its product roadmap and will be added in the coming weeks and months.
The launch of the Windows browser coincides with DuckDuckGo’s recent announcement of the beta launch of DuckAssist, an AI-powered summarization feature. DuckAssist is designed to directly answer straightforward search queries for users. This feature uses natural language technology from OpenAI and Anthropic, an AI startup founded by ex-OpenAI employees, combined with DuckDuckGo’s own active indexing of Wikipedia and other reference sites for sourcing answers.
The DuckDuckGo Windows browser is currently available in beta form, but it brings a fresh perspective to privacy-focused web browsing. Despite missing a few features from its other versions, the browser promises to offer something unique to the table compared to other desktop browsers, making it worth considering for those who value their online privacy.