Apple considered DuckDuckGo over Bing for Safari’s Private Mode

Devesh Beri

Apple had discussions with DuckDuckGo to potentially replace Google as the default search engine in 2018-19 for the private mode on Apple’s Safari browser, as reported by Bloomberg. In private mode, Safari does not track user activity or maintain a browsing history.

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that prioritizes user privacy. It doesn’t collect any personal information and doesn’t track its users, making it an ideal choice for private mode.

According to Gabriel Weinberg, the CEO of DuckDuckGo, Apple had integrated some of DuckDuckGo’s privacy technologies into Safari. However, despite these integrations, DuckDuckGo was not chosen as the default search engine for private browsing.

John Giannandrea, who joined Apple as the head of search in 2018, stated that, to his knowledge, Apple had not seriously considered switching to DuckDuckGo. He expressed reservations about DuckDuckGo’s reliance on Microsoft’s Bing for search information, suggesting that it might compromise user privacy.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella testified that Microsoft was willing to lose billions of dollars if Apple chose Bing as the default search engine on Safari, highlighting the importance of such a partnership.

The U.S. Department of Justice alleges that Google paid billions to Apple and other companies to secure its position as the default search engine on various web browsers and smartphones, thereby preventing potential competitors like Bing and DuckDuckGo from gaining traction.