It feels like every day, I see another person realizing how little privacy they have online and saying “enough.” Upset about the state of our relationship to tech companies, they’re quitting Facebook and Twitter, avoiding Amazon, and giving up Google.
DuckDuckGo, a 10-year-old web privacy company, offers a tracker-free alternative to Google search, and web browsing utilities that minimize the number of sites and companies tracking you across the web.
The site works in tandem with the apps many of us already use, and can be customized to offer different levels of protection. Unlike more intensive web security measures, like using Tor or setting up a VPN, you can get most of the benefits without any impact on your browsing at all. You might call it a “gateway drug” to online security.
So if you’re down to experiment, let’s walk through everything you need to know about integrating DuckDuckGo into your life.
DuckDuckGo’s core service, untracked search, is exactly what it sounds like. You use a search bar, either through the bar on the DDG site or your browser’s address bar, to search for whatever you need, just as you would with Google. If all goes well you shouldn’t notice any substantive difference between the two. (Based on some from recent testing, we found that Google Image search is the only place where you may really notice the difference.)
Switching to DuckDuckGo search is very easy and doesn’t require you to change your browsing habits. Every major web browser allows you to swap in DuckDuckGo as your default browser, which allows you to use it when you search using your address bar.
Though the exact path may vary, the process for changing your default browser is essentially the same across them all. Go to your browser’s preferences, find the Search Engine section and click on the option described as “default search engine” or “search engine used in the address bar.” (Most browsers default to Google search, so you can also just look for a drop-down set to the big G). The drop-down generally features five or so browsers, but in this case, you want to switch to DuckDuckGo.