Apple Maps gooses DuckDuckGo in search privacy partnership

The maps that show up on iPhones are now used on the privacy-first search engine, too.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Stephen Shankland
2 min read
Apple Maps now is built into DuckDuckGo search results.

Apple Maps now is built into DuckDuckGo search results.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Search engine DuckDuckGo now displays location information from Apple Maps in its search results, a new example of business partners trying to profit from people's concerns about online privacy .

DuckDuckGo now uses Apple Maps both for small maps in location-related search results and for larger, interactive search results that appear in a separate maps tab, DuckDuckGo said in a blog post Tuesday. That replaces a combination including MapBox, OpenStreetMap and homegrown technology, Chief Executive Gabriel Weinberg added.

The top reason DuckDuckGo argues you should try it is that it doesn't keep any personal information on you and what you searched for, unlike search leader Google. That dovetails nicely with Apple's sustained push to improve online privacy -- and with priorities at companies like browser startup Brave, which uses DuckDuckGo by default for searches in private tabs.

But maintaining your privacy can be tough when you're looking for location-related information. DuckDuckGo says it's struck a balance, though. It doesn't send personally identifiable information such as your computer's Internet Protocol network address, to Apple or other third parties, DuckDuckGo said. "For local searches, where your approximate location information is sent by your browser to us, we discard it immediately after use," the company added.

Privacy has been a problem for decades on the internet, but it's become a hotter issue with countless data breaches that've revealed sensitive information and with Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal that revealed how closely internet companies can track your online behavior.

It remains to be seen just how far the tech industry will go to improve privacy, though, particularly when personal information can be turned into more profitable ads or other services.

 Apple and DuckDuckGo declined to comment on terms of the partnership.

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