DuckDuckGo is working on a privacy-focused desktop browser

silversurfer

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DuckDuckGo, the company best known for its privacy-focused search engine of the same name, is working on a desktop browser that should bring the same focus on avoiding being tracked to your entire web experience. In a post on its blog, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg offers a glimpse at what the upcoming browser will look like and notes that we can expect it to perform the same way its browsing app does on mobile.

Weinberg explains that the desktop browser will offer “robust privacy protection” by default, without you having to toggle on any hidden security settings. Like the mobile app, the desktop equivalent will come with the same “Fire” button that instantly erases all of your browsing history, stored data, and tabs in one click. It’s also built around “OS-provided rendering engines” — like it is on mobile — which Weinberg says will create a neater interface and get rid of any clutter that comes with mainstream browsers. He also claims that early tests of the browser indicate that it’s “significantly faster” than Google Chrome.

“macOS and Windows both now offer website rendering APIs (WebView/WebView2) that any application can use to render a website. That’s what we’ve used to build our app on desktop,” Allison Johnson, the senior communications manager at DuckDuckGo, explained in a statement to The Verge.
“Instead, we’re building the desktop app from the ground up around the OS-provided rendering APIs. This means that anything beyond website rendering (e.g., tabs & bookmark management, navigation controls, passwords etc.) we have to build ourselves.” In other words, on Windows, the browser will use Edge / Chromium rendering, and the same goes for Safari / Webkit on macOS. Johnson also noted that this isn’t the same as forking, which would mean that the browser is built off of one that already exists.
The browser is currently in a closed beta test on macOS, but a tweet from Weinberg hints that DuckDuckGo is getting it ready for Windows as well. There’s no word on when the desktop browser will become publicly available.
 

Gandalf_The_Grey

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What engine does the DuckDuckGo desktop browser use?

The announcement on the brand's website says that it is not forking Chromium or others (Firefox's Gecko), and instead will rely on the API for the OS-provided rendering engines. That is quite cryptic, isn't it? Allison Johnson, Senior Communications Manager at DuckDuckGo, gave a statement to The Verge. The message reads as follows, “macOS and Windows both now offer website rendering APIs (WebView/WebView2) that any application can use to render a website. That’s what we’ve used to build our app on desktop."

So, the DuckDuckGo browser will be based on the WebView2 engine, which is used in Microsoft Edge. Similarly, it will use Safari's Webkit rendering engine on Apple's macOS. How's this different from a fork?


DuckDuckGo's browser is built from scratch, to discard the clutter from the OS-provided application. This also means everything else in the browser, such as tabs, bookmark management, navigation controls, passwords, are being re-built.
“macOS and Windows both now offer website rendering APIs (WebView/WebView2) that any application can use to render a website. That’s what we’ve used to build our app on desktop,” Allison Johnson, the senior communications manager at DuckDuckGo, explained in a statement to The Verge.

“Instead, we’re building the desktop app from the ground up around the OS-provided rendering APIs. This means that anything beyond website rendering (e.g., tabs & bookmark management, navigation controls, passwords etc.) we have to build ourselves.” In other words, on Windows, the browser will use Edge / Chromium rendering, and the same goes for Safari / Webkit on macOS. Johnson also noted that this isn’t the same as forking, which would mean that the browser is built off of one that already exists.
 

shmu26

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It is going to be really tough to build a non-Chromium browser that works well with all major sites, unless they have a billion dollar budget that can compete with Google and Microsoft.
Even Firefox is struggling. As much as I love Firefox, it doesn't always deliver in critical situations, like displaying the info I need on the website of an airline that I already bought a ticket from.
 

silversurfer

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DuckDuckGo browser for Mac is now available in beta (via waitlist)​

What engine does DuckDuckGo for Mac use?

It is not a fork of Chromium. The engine under the hood uses Apple Safari's Webkit renderer. DuckDuckGo claims that its browser, which it built from scratch using just the WKWebView API, is faster than Chrome in some graphics performance, and that it uses 60% less data blocking trackers before they load.

DuckDuckGo for Mac does not support extensions yet. The announcement says that the most popular browser extensions are ad-blockers and password managers, and the company says that the app's baked-in features will cater to these requirements. The source code for the browser is not available yet, it will be made open source after the beta period.