Wednesday, October 19, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

DuckDuckGo Browser for Mac Public Beta

DuckDuckGo (via Hacker News):

Enjoy browsing again with a fast, sleek browsing app that cleans up the web as you use it, thanks to DuckDuckGo’s unique built-in privacy protections.

New since the closed beta: Duck Player, a YouTube player that helps protect your privacy; password management integration with Bitwarden; upgraded automatic cookie pop-up handling; instant access to built-in Email Protection; and more.

[…]

We added a bookmarks bar, pinned tabs, and a way to view your locally stored browsing history.

[…]

DuckDuckGo for Mac is not a “fork” of Chromium, or any other browser code. All the app code – tab and bookmark management, our new tab page, our password manager, etc. – is written by our own engineers. For rendering, it uses a public macOS API, making it super compatible with Mac devices.

In other words, it’s using WKWebView rather than embedding its own forked copy of WebKit. I’m happy to see this making progress, but right now the features are pretty bare bones, the interface feels more webby than Mac, and it doesn’t support AppleScript.

Previously:

Update (2022-11-02): Alexandre Colucci:

I gave a try to the new @DuckDuckGo Mac browser and I’m quite impressed:

  • feels really fast (in the video Safari on the left vs DuckDuckGo on the right)
  • cookie consent blocker is great but needs to support more websites

Update (2022-11-09): DuckDuckGo:

Calling all Mac users 📣 our everyday browser - the privacy easy button - is out now in beta!

1 Comment

The trouble with using WKWebView is that you have to always update your OS to get improvements to WebKit. You cannot benefit from the modern WebKit version that Safari uses for its next two unbundled-from-the-OS major versions.

I don’t know how/if the OS-bundled WebKit version gets security fixes once Safari updates on its own. Given how relatively little it’s needed (it’s rarely used in a browser context on the Mac), I would guess it just does not.

The above is in the context of relatively technical users. For the lots of users who never upgrade MacOS, using a WKWebView browser (or Safari after a while) is a security disaster. Every other browser updates automatically and has additional security mitigations not tied to the OS: https://infrequently.org/2021/08/webkit-ios-deep-dive/#apple's-security-argument

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