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Google Quietly Adds Search Engine Privacy Option To Chrome – Here’s How To Enable It

The latest Google Chrome web browser update has a pleasant surprise in store for users who value their privacy. The chromium engine under the hood of the browser has been tweaked to add DuckDuckGo to the default search engine list. Chrome 73.0.3683.75 was released earlier this week, with a total of 60 security fixes listed in the official Chrome team notes. What those release notes didn’t mention, however, was the privacy fix that Google had made available. Needless to say, as the update started to roll out and those of us who inhabit the security and privacy world got a chance to poke around in it, the DuckDuckGo inclusion was revealed. Not everyone will get the chance to switch to DuckDuckGo as it has only been added as a preferred search option in 60 countries. These do include the U.K. and U.S. though.

What is DuckDuckGo and why should I switch to it?

DuckDuckGo, if you haven’t heard of it, is a search engine that has focuses on user privacy as much as it does finding the information you are looking for. Indeed, DuckDuckGo enters into an agreement with the user to block advertising trackers, keep your search history private and allow you to take control of your personal data by not storing it. Ever. DuckDuckGo likes to keep things simple, such as the privacy policy which simply states we don’t collect or share any of your personal information. Because it doesn’t store your search history, DuckDuckGo says it has nothing to sell to those advertisers that track your online movements. With a headline message of ‘no tracking, no ad targeting, just searching’ DuckDuckGo has been a staple in the privacy diet of many for some years now. Of course, it has also remained a hidden gem to the majority of folk who just ‘go Google’ stuff. This new update has the opportunity to change all that, assuming people not only know they can change their search default but how to do it.

What are the downsides of using DuckDuckGo?

The positives and negative can both be summed up in just three words: it isn’t Google. While the privacy implications are pretty clear, what about the quality of the searching? This is where you need to balance the whole risk and reward thing. You don’t get a personalized search with DuckDuckGo, it can’t do that as it doesn’t store your search history or allow you to create an account. For most users, most of the time, I would argue this really doesn’t matter. Day to day searching compares relatively well with Google search results. Maybe not as many hits per search, but who scrolls past the first handful of pages anyway? The top page results are generally much the same as those Google returns, you still get news items top of page and an explanatory box to the right and you still get quality results.


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