DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials. DuckDuckGo Founder and CEO, Gabriel Weinberg:

Today we’re taking a major step to simplify online privacy with the launch of fully revamped versions of our browser extension and mobile app, now with built-in tracker network blocking, smarter encryption, and, of course, private search – all designed to operate seamlessly together while you search and browse the web.

The DuckDuckGo browser extension and mobile app will also now show you a Privacy Grade rating (A-F) when you visit a website. This rating lets you see at a glance how protected you are, dig into the details to see who we caught trying to track you, and learn how we enhanced the underlying website’s privacy measures. The Privacy Grade is scored automatically based on the prevalence of hidden tracker networks, encryption availability, and website privacy practices.

Simple, fast, and powered by a company that cares about your privacy. On today’s web, that’s pretty much all you can ask for.

That said, and although the browser extensions work well, the new iOS app is a little rough. I have no doubt it’s functional, but there are a few UI oddities that come off as tone deaf to how iOS apps should behave. For example, the app mimics Safari in that when you’re scrolling down a webpage, the browser UI recedes so you can see as much page content as possible. However, unlike Safari, when you begin scrolling back up the page, DuckDuckGo’s app doesn’t immediately unhide the UI. Sometimes it’ll take an extra downward thumb flick to get the controls back. Here’s where it gets weirder though. Start by scrolling down so the browser UI recedes, scroll up half a screen (in most cases the browser chrome will still be hidden), and then scroll down. Suddenly, the UI controls are back. It’s baffling.1

  1. Okay, now that I’m done beating up their app, let me pitch why you should be using DuckDuckGo as your default search engine. I’ve been using their web search for the past few years (desktop and mobile), and it’s great. I rarely, if ever, need to run something through Google, and for times I do, I simply append !g to my query and DuckDuckGo runs the search for me.2 I wholeheartedly recommend you give DuckDuckGo a try if you haven’t already. [return]
  2. DuckDuckGo has a whole host of other “bangs” that work in the same way as !g. Some of my most used are !yt for YouTube, !a for Amazon, and !nyt for when I’m trying to find an obscure usage of the New York Times Manual of Style. [return]

Friday, 26 January 2018

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