It’s hard to convince people to change at all, but it’s especially difficult to switch to a different web browser. Whether you’re team Chrome, Edge, Safari, or one of the other dozens of options, you like what you like. DuckDuckGo has its work cut out for them if they want users to hop aboard its new macOS browser, but they have some clever pro-privacy arguments that might finally make you drop Chrome.
The company’s Mac browser has been in a closed beta for some time now, but as of today, the beta is open. Anyone running macOS can download the app from DuckDuckGo’s official site and try out the company’s new privacy features.
What DuckDuckGo’s browser can offer Mac users
DuckDuckGo’s whole shtick surrounds user privacy, so that’s where its browser’s key features lie. One highlight is email protection, which gives you an @duck.com email address you can use whenever you don’t want to hand over your primary address. That @duck.com account then forwards all messages to your primary email, giving you the best of both worlds. This feature has been available since August, but it comes baked-in to the macOS browser.
No doubt, one feature that will be appealing is the Duck Player. This is a YouTube player built by DuckDuckGo that blocks cookies and targeted ads, while automatically using the most privacy settings YouTube has to offer. While DuckDuckGo can only promise targeted ads will be blocked, they also claim the Duck Player should duck most ads in general. I can say that’s been my experience so far.
You can choose to use the Duck Player on a video-by-video basis, or have it be the default anytime you click a YouTube link. It supports features like captions and 4K resolution video, but you’ll need to exit the player to see YouTube-specific elements like comments.
Another promising feature is automatic cookie pop-up handling. Whenever an alert appears on a website asking you to choose your cookie settings, DuckDuckGo’s browser will choose the strictest privacy options for you automatically. It can be frustrating constantly choosing cookie settings on new websites, so I support this measure 100%.
Password manager integration is limited at this time, but it’s a goal of DuckDuckGo for future browsers. Right now, it’s just DuckDuckGo’s proprietary password manager (which includes autofill and payment info), full support for Bitwarden, and integration with 1Password’s universal autofill.
Now, DuckDuckGo doesn’t have a perfect history when it comes to privacy. Earlier this year, we found out the company allowed Microsoft trackers to follow you on its iOS and Android browsers due to a syndication agreement between the companies. Luckily, that’s no longer the case, so you shouldn’t run into those issues with DuckDuckGo’s macOS browser. Controversy aside, it’s always refreshing when a tech company makes an effort to protect your data, rather than leech it for profit, so I’m interested to see where DuckDuckGo’s browser goes from here. The app is still in beta, with the Windows version locked behind closed testing, so there’s plenty of work to be done.