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DuckDuckGo privacy update to block Google feature


DuckDuckGo privacy update to block Google feature

Search engine DuckDuckGo has announced its latest plans to one-up rival Google with a new privacy feature.

DuckDuckGo is planning to block Google’s new Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), which is the latest technology search giant Google has created as it moves away from the use of third-party tracking cookies on its browser Chrome.

FLoC will collect data about Chrome users in order to present them with personalised ads. Google is arguing that this new technology is 95% as effective as tracking cookies, but provides users with more privacy, as the browsing data it collects can’t be tied to any one individual – it collects data at a group level, not an individual level.

However, DuckDuckGo is concerned with all tracking, no matter how invasive it is or isn’t. In a statement, the search engine voiced its opinion on FLoC:

“We’re disappointed that, despite the many publicly voiced concerns with FLoC that have not yet been addressed, Google is already forcing FLoC upon users without explicitly asking them to opt in. We’re nevertheless committed and will continue to do our part to deliver on our vision of raising the standard of trust online.”

To combat the new technology, DuckDuckGo is updating its browser extension for Chrome, which will allow users to block FLoC on websites. This update isn’t yet available, as – perhaps ironically – the extension must be approved by Google. However, DuckDuckGo has voiced its confidence that the update will receive approval.

In addition to the updated extension, users of DuckDuckGo using any device or browser will be automatically opted out of FLoC.

The search engine has long been an advocate for people’s privacy on the web, with aims to block any and all trackers for its users. This is a standout feature for many privacy-minded individuals, and while DuckDuckGo’s share of the market is small, it is likely that more users will flock to privacy-focused options as concerns around online privacy grow.

Here at Engage Web, we recognise Google’s dominance in the search engine market, but we also keep an eye on developments with other search engines like this. If you’d like to have a chat about search engine optimisation (SEO) for your website, get in touch.

Emily Jones

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