DuckDuckGo Search switches mapping to Apple Maps

Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo announced yesterday that the search engine’s map and address related searches and functions are now powered by Apple’s MapKit JS framework.

The new functionality is live already for desktop and mobile devices that use DuckDuckgo for searches.

DuckDuckGo highlights two main benefits that come out of the move: improved privacy and better mapping functionality.

Users may see maps and related data when they run searches for places or addresses. A search for the best Thai, Vietnamese or Italian restaurant displays a map and related information in the sidebar or at the top on search results pages.

Searches for addresses, geographical places, local businesses, a type of business, or nearby places return embedded maps usually.

The listing highlights places on a map and a top list of places depending on the query. If you search for a restaurant, you get three restaurant listings from Yelp along with user reviews, types, and other information such as opening hours if available.

A click on the map expands it to cover the entire screen. A sidebar lists places and you can click on numbers to highlight a certain place right away.

The map supports core map functionality such as zooming, moving around, or switching to a different view mode.

duckduckgo map

DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine and privacy played a big role in the decision to switch mapping functionality to Apple’s MapKit JS framework.

The company notes in the announcement that user IP addresses or any other personally identifiable information is not shared with Apple or any other third-party that is involved.

A user’s approximate location is used to power local searches, but the information is discarded “immediately after use” according to the company. Users remain anonymous according to DuckDuckGo as the company does not store personal information in its server logs.

Additional information about anonymous localized results is available on DuckDuckGo’s Help site.

DuckDuckGo did not reveal how privacy has improved over how things were in regards to privacy with the company’s previous map provider Mapbox (which used OpenStreetMap).

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