DuckDuckGo introduces beta version of Mac browser with waiting list

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DuckDuckGo has introduced the beta version of DuckDuckGo for Mac. The browser is based on Safari and is similar to the DuckDuckGo mobile app. In order to test the Mac browser, users must join a waiting list.

The Mac version of the DuckDuckGo app used Safari’s rendering engine through an API. DuckDuckGo emphasizes that DuckDuckGo for Mac is not a fork of Safari, but that everything is developed outside of the rendering engine by developers at the privacy organization.

The desktop browser works with the DuckDuckGo search engine, has a tracker blocker and a new cookie pop-up protection feature. That ‘pop-up protector’ can block cookie pop-ups on about 50 percent of all websites. The organization says it wants to increase that percentage. The company also talks about email protection and a Fire Button. That button deletes all data.

The company claims that by using the WKWebView API and blocking trackers from loading, the browser is faster than competitors. For example, the browser is said to be faster than Chrome “in some graphics performance”, according to the Motion Mark 1.2 benchmark. DuckDuckGo’s browser would also use 60 percent less data than Google’s browser.

The privacy organization also says that the browser more often uses the HTTPS version of a website and that data such as history, bookmarks and passwords are only stored on the device by default and cannot be viewed by DuckDuckGo. It is still a beta test and the browser is still under development. For example, there is no possibility to install extensions, there is no overall ad blocker and passwords are not yet synced between mobile apps and the desktop version. However, users can import passwords from other browsers and extensions such as 1Password and LastPass.

Users who want to install DuckDuckGo for Mac must indicate that they want to join the Private Waitlist via the mobile app in the settings menu. They will then receive a notification within the app when they have been invited. This does not require users to share any personal information; the place on the waiting list is saved on the device. It is not clear how many people are on that waiting list and how many people receive an invitation per day.

Late last year, DuckDuckGo announced it was starting work on desktop versions of the Privacy Browser mobile app. Since then, the company has also been testing the desktop version internally. Besides a Mac version, DuckDuckGo is working on a Windows version. The company wants to share more about that later. ‘Eventually’ there should also be a Linux browser, but for now the focus is on Mac and Windows. Once the browser is out of beta, DuckDuckGo makes the code open source.

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