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Although Google pays Apple an insane amount of money to be the default search engine on iOS, that doesn’t mean that it has to be your search engine, and in fact if you’re a serious fan of all things Apple, chances are you’re using most of Apple’s own apps and services already, so why stay coupled to Google for your search results?
Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo has long been a favourite choice of those who prefer to remain anonymous, and now it’s providing even more incentive for Apple users to switch over with even tighter integration into Apple Maps.
The Power of Apple Maps
In a blog post this week, the search engine announced that it’s now using Apple’s MapKit JS framework — the underlying system that Apple offers to allow its maps to be embedded on websites — to power all of its mapping features. This means that when you do a local search in DuckDuckGo, you’ll be using data from Apple Maps.
This works not only for showing actual maps, but it’s also the secret sauce behind new features in DuckDuckGo’s local queries, powering new features like autocomplete based on the user’s local area.
Updating or typing new search queries will now dynamically show you search suggestions that are tailored to the local region displayed. For example, as you type “coffee” we’ll show you search suggestions related to coffee within the map area in view, rather than somewhere else in the world.DuckDuckGo
DuckDuckGo is using Apple Maps to improve the user experience in a number of other ways as well. For instance, you can now perform new map-related searches directly from the expanded map view, with instant results, as well as dynamically updating results as you pan and zoom around the map view, allowing searches to be quickly refined to a more specific geographic area.
Search results pages also now gain a dedicated “Maps” tab for every search, not just those that DuckDuckGo identifies as map-related. This will allow you to quickly switch over to a local search for more ambiguous queries such as “coffee” or “cupcakes” to find nearby businesses.
DuckDuckGo has also fully embraced the Dark Side, with Apple-powered maps now included when you’re using its popular dark theme. This provides a coherent look in general, but it’s particularly great when working with the search engine at night since you won’t be subjected to the sudden shock of a bright white map view when conducting a location-based search.
Despite all of these changes, DuckDuckGo is still committed to protecting user privacy and offering completely anonymous, non-tracked searches. In fact, this is the most obvious reason why the company chose to partner with Apple for its mapping engine, since both organizations share the same priorities here.
We believe there should be no trade-off for people wanting to protect their personal data while searching. Working with Apple Maps to enhance DuckDuckGo Search is an example of how we do this, and pushes us further in our vision of setting a new standard of trust online.DuckDuckGo
While Apple hasn’t (yet) shown any interest in building its own search engine — after all, it’s hard to turn down the billions of dollars it’s getting from Google for default placement — DuckDuckGo is definitely the most Apple-like of all of the options available, both in terms of design and of course its shared commitment to privacy.