DuckDuckGo announced a new driving directions feature to its maps. The feature is powered by Apple’s MapKit JS framework and is completely privacy focused.
DuckDuckGo Improvement to Maps
The change is an improvement to its current service, bringing driving and walking directions to its maps offering.
DuckDuckGo will now show features that will allow a user to plan a trip, including an overview of the route, the distance and the total travel time.
Screenshot of DuckDuckGo Map Search
Clicking the Directions button opens up the map routing interface. The map always begins at your current location.
This is how DuckDuckGo explains it:
“Clicking the Directions button in the map sidebar will now display boxes to enter a starting point and a destination. For convenience, the starting point by default will be set to your current location, which works anonymously… The best routes and their estimated durations will be shown on the map, and updating the starting point will redraw the available routes.”
The current location is determined by the IP information that is sent by your browser. DuckDuckGo says that it temporarily uses that information only for determining your location for the purposes of the maps service and then gets rid of it.
DuckDuckGo stats that it does not store or sell your location information.
According to DuckDuckGo’s location privacy page:
DuckDuckGo Private Maps
DuckDuckGo’s privacy maps service doesn’t support bus and subway routes. But it will provide route information for driving and walking but in a privacy-first manner.
The privacy feature is a game changer. It will very likely appeal to anyone who might feel freaked out by Google’s data warehouse absorbing their location and travel plans into it’s cookie tracking advertising market.
According to the announcement:
“Route planning was a missing piece in DuckDuckGo Search. Integrating it means our maps now have the functionality you expect with the privacy you deserve, with no trade-offs.”
This kind of feature should help make DuckDuckGo more popular. That’s important to the SEO and web publishing community because the more people use DuckDuckGo the more traffic it will be able to send to publishers.