DuckDuckGo is constantly striving to improve the private and secure experience it is providing to the users. Since its inception, it has always been the go-to search engine for people who care about their privacy while browsing the internet. While it served fine for most of the searches, searching places in DuckDuckGo has always been unappealing which is exactly what the company fixes with the newest update.
The privacy-focused search engine switched to Apple’s MapKit JS framework this January to refine the maps user interface while searching for locations in the platform. The latest update drastically improves local searches which makes it much easier to get to places around you.
The key features in the update according to their blog are Map Re-Querying, Local Autocomplete, Dedicated Maps Tab, and Dark Mode. We’ll take a deep dive into what these features offer in day-to-day usage of the search engine below.
If you have switched to DuckDuckGo already or you at least tried it out for a brief period, you’d have noticed that whenever you search for a place, it had to be done on the regular DuckDuckGo Search page, unlike the industry-leading Google Search that lets you search on a dedicated page. Well, not anymore. The search engine now has a dedicated page and with map re-querying, it allows users to make multiple map-based searches without leaving the map view and that is quite handy for making concurrent searches. Moreover, you can limit the radius of the search by zooming in and the map will show you the results within the user-set limits.
Local Autocomplete feature is also another awesome feature, and a total lifesaver for me as it helps to quickly find the exact location which reduces the time delay to start navigating around the city especially as I’m new to this place and hence unaware of the exact place names. Place names can be really complicated at times and this feature helps to find the location you need to visit at ease without initiating a separate search. The below image depicts an ideal use-case for this feature.
There is a dedicated Maps tab on the search user interface which helps users to seamlessly switch to the map UI. While this feature is not new by any means as popular search engines have this dedicated maps tab already, witnessing it on DuckDuckGo is pleasing.
You might have noticed by now the change in color mode in the above screenshots. Yes, the map interface powered by Apple Maps now has a dark mode which I totally love and appreciate.
The company has emphasized that the privacy of users is not compromised on performing map and address-based searches. They have ensured that no personal information including IP address is revealed to the third-party providers like Apple. They also claim that the location details are sent by the web browser and is not stored anywhere in their servers.