After the latest revelations by Edward Snowden regarding NSA’s project PRISM, everyone has suddenly become more privacy-conscious. Almost all tech giants have admitted that they have made the data of their users available to authorities on several occasions. Even if a service doesn’t provide data to the government, your private information is rarely 100% safe due to the threat of server raids and hacking. This is why DuckDuckGo has suddenly become more important as a search engine than it has ever been. Unlike other search engines, DuckDuckGo offers truly secure and anonymous searching, since it doesn’t save any of your data at the backend. Probably to take full advantage of the PRISM leaks, the search engine has come up with official apps of its own for both iOS and Android. You can use DuckDuckGo on your web browser (or even as the default search engine in mobile Safari) of course, but DuckDuckGo Search & Stories makes the whole process really convenient. An added bonus is the app’s ability to double up as a news reader, accumulating the latest stories from around the web.
DuckDuckGo starts with a page displaying the latest top stories from different sources. You can change or enhance the source list by heading to the app’s settings, which gives the DuckDuckGo news feed a personalized touch. From the main page, swipe across any post’s associated image to see the list of hidden options. Using these options, you can save the article to your reading list, share it over the social network of your choice, or simply open the source page in your default web browser. You can also view the article within the DuckDuckGo app by simply tapping the title once. Each story shows its source in the bottom-left corner, with the URL being in the top bar.
When it comes to search (which is the whole point of DuckDuckGo), you can perform a query from anywhere in the app. Autosuggestions are enabled by default, and some keywords are even accompanied by thumbnails. You can bookmark a query for future use by hitting the ‘+’ icon displayed in the autosuggestions list. To perform advanced operations on a query, hit the exclamation mark that shows up on the right of the search box. This way, you can perform image searches, toggle filtering, or route your searches to different sources.
All the queries you save and the articles you read are saved by DuckDuckGo in its left-hand bar. You can clear this area any time you want by heading to the app’s settings, or even toggle this feature off altogether. The same settings screen houses options for changing sources for the stories that appear on the main screen.
DuckDuckGo has been around for Windows 8 for quite a while, but it is good to see its presence on mobile as well. The smartphones apps are available for free, and even if you don’t really mind the government going through your search results occasionally, DuckDuckGo is worth a download just as a news reader and an alternative search engine.