Over the years, DuckDuckGo has offered millions of people a private alternative to Google, serving over 16 billion anonymous searches. Today we're excited to launch fully revamped versions of our browser extension and mobile app, extending DuckDuckGo's protection beyond the search box to wherever the Internet takes you.
It’s hard to use the Internet without it feeling a bit creepy – like there’s a nosey neighbor watching everything you do from across the street. Except, instead of a nosey neighbor, it’s a vast array of highly sophisticated tracker networks, run by big companies like Google and Facebook, recording everything you do online, often without your knowledge, and selling their findings to the highest bidder via targeted ads. While closing the blinds at home can put a stop to your neighbors, there isn’t something that simple that can work online. Until now.
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. Our updated app and extension are now available across all major platforms – Firefox, Safari, Chrome, iOS, and Android – so that you can easily get all the privacy essentials you need on any device with just one download.
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.
To date, cobbling together an effective privacy solution has required researching complicated technologies, installing multiple add-ons and apps on each device, and often worsening your Internet experience. Others have been unfortunately misled by supposed simple solutions. Think “Incognito” mode blocks Google from watching what you’re doing? Think again. Private browsing modes are marketed to make you think that if it's not in your device’s browser history, it never happened. Sadly, that couldn't be further from the truth.
With the new DuckDuckGo browser extension or mobile app, you are now able to seamlessly:
Expose and Block Tracker Networks Watching You
The vast majority of websites across the Internet contain hidden tracker networks, with Google trackers now lurking behind 76% of pages, Facebook’s trackers on 24% of pages, and countless others soaking up your personal information to follow you with ads around the Web, or worse. Our Privacy Protection will block all the hidden trackers we can find, exposing the major advertising networks tracking you over time, so that you can track who's trying to track you.
Increase Encryption Protection
While not all sites offer an encrypted version, thankfully this has been rapidly changing. If we discover a site offers an encrypted version but does not send you to it automatically, DuckDuckGo will. This encryption protects you from eavesdroppers, like ISPs, grabbing up your personal information as it travels across the Internet between you and the websites you visit.
Most privacy policies are difficult to understand, and aren’t reviewed closely enough. Even if we block all the tracker networks we find, and even if we upgrade encryption, a website could still be using your data for nefarious purposes, such as selling it to third parties.
We’ve partnered with Terms of Service Didn't Read (TOSDR) to include their scores of website terms of service and privacy policies, where available. However, because most privacy policies still remain unstudied, we’re working with TOSDR to help them to rate and label as many websites as possible.
Of course, our app and extension also include DuckDuckGo private search! You share your most personal information with your search engine, like your financial, medical, and political questions. What you search for is your own business, which is why DuckDuckGo search doesn’t track you. Ever.
Once you start using the new app and browser extension, you’ll quickly notice something: hardly any website currently gets an "A" on privacy. That’s because hardly any website out there truly prioritizes your privacy.
Because of these widespread poor privacy practices, too many people believe you simply can’t expect privacy on the Internet. We disagree, and have made it our mission to set a new standard of trust online. We want privacy to be the default, not the exception, and this launch is a major step in that direction.
For the last decade, DuckDuckGo has been giving you the ability to search privately, but that privacy was only limited to our search box. Now, when you also use the DuckDuckGo browser extension or mobile app, we will provide you with seamless privacy protection on the websites you visit. Our goal is to expand this privacy protection over time by adding even more privacy features into this single package. While not all privacy protection can be as seamless, the essentials available today and those that we will be adding will go a long way to protecting your privacy online, without compromising your Internet experience.
As more people start taking their privacy back online, the companies who make money off our personal information will be put on more notice and we’ll collectively raise the Internet’s privacy grade, ending the widespread use of invasive tracking. True to the collective nature of this effort, we’re also building our extension and app in the open with all of the code available on GitHub, so we invite you to join us.