January 23, 2022

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DuckDuckGo’s Web Browser Won’t Rely on Any Chrome Technology

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DuckDuckGo, the popular privacy-focused search engine, is developing its own desktop browser, as reported by ZDNet. However, what will make DuckDuckGo’s browser unique from other “privacy browsers” is that it won’t be based on Chromium. It’s the latest product from the company encouraging users to switch from Google products such as Chrome.

Pretty much every popular desktop browser is based on Chromium, an open-source project that powers Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Brave, and many others.

We can't wait for what's to come in 2022. Look out for our new desktop app, which brings the privacy & speed of our mobile app (finally!) to desktop. First look is here. pic.twitter.com/C6kgtCthAo

— DuckDuckGo (@DuckDuckGo) December 21, 2021

So if the company isn’t using Chromium, what will it use? Well, according to Allison Johnson, in an interview with The Verge, shed some light on their plans. She said:

“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.”

In layman’s terms, DuckDuckGo is developing native apps for the major operating systems that essentially run a browser inside them. Building the app from the ground up lets the company optimize the app for the system while leaving behind all the bloat that has accumulated on Chromium over the years. You can find a more thorough explanation of WebView here.

However, that means developing multiple apps to get the most optimized experience on each operating system. Chromium, on the other hand, can work all the major operating systems. Developing fully native apps requires even more manpower, something Microsoft learned the hard way with Microsoft Edge.

That being said, DuckDuckGo has quite a bit of traction. The search engine has exploded in popularity, and now upward of 9% of the U.S. population uses it over Google.

Product improvements have fueled our growth, making DuckDuckGo the most downloaded browsing app on Android in our major markets, #2 on iOS, and resulting in 150M+ downloads of our apps & extensions since 2018.https://t.co/gWuqYgjPRJ

— DuckDuckGo (@DuckDuckGo) December 21, 2021

The company is also open about its antagonism to Google. The CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, talks about it a lot on Twitter. It has also introduced features in its mobile app that undercut Google’s data collection efforts. The app turns off app tracking, which stops data miners like Facebook and Google from collecting data while you use other apps.

With so much traction, building a dedicated browser seems like a natural next step for the company. Weinberg seems confident about it too. “… compared to Chrome, “ he says, “the DuckDuckGo app for desktop is cleaner, way more private, and early tests have found it significantly faster too!”

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