To keep up with these mapping apps, DuckDuckGo recently integrated Apple’s MapKit JS framework to provide more effective address searches, improved satellite imagery, and so on. Besides inheriting some of the tools that Apple provides to developers, DuckDuckGo used these tools to expand upon some of DuckDuckGo Map’s weaknesses. Some of these improvements that DuckDuckGo details in their blog post is map re-querying, local autocomplete, and a dedicated Maps tab that makes the maps feature more available. Some may question how DuckDuckGo could take advantage of Apple’s mapping technology without sacrificing privacy. DuckDuckGo’s response to this concern is that they do not send IP addresses to Apple or other third parties. Localized searches are not stored and are deleted immediately after use. Technically, DuckDuckGo performs an approximation of location information using GEO:IP lookup, but this can be inaccurate on mobile networks. So, the search company asks the user to opt in to sharing their location with DuckDuckGo through your web browser which would then share their GPS location/cell tower location/ etc with DuckDuckGo. The problem here is that depending on the browser, opting in can compromise one’s privacy through no fault of DuckDuckGo. In short, if you want more accurate localized searches, you may have to compromise security, but the process is inherently anonymous due to the fact that DuckDuckGo does not store data in their server logs.
Though those faithful to Google Maps may scoff at these improvements, one cannot argue against the value of privacy. By shadowing some of Google’s valuable apps, DuckDuckGo can continue to coax more internet users to join their private platform while also informing uses of the rights they hold over their personal data. All with the goal of “setting a new standard of trust online.”
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