The search privacy company still needs Bing, but Microsoft won’t allow its trackers.
DuckDuckGo is a privacy-minded search company that says it will block Microsoft trackers in its desktop browser. This follows revelations made in May by LinkedIn and Bing about specific scripts being given a pass.
In a blog posting, Gabriel Weinberg, founder of DuckDuckGo, says that he has heard users’ concerns ever since Zach Edwards’ thread about security researchers and that “we didn’t meet their expectations regarding one of our browser’s web tracking protections.” Weinberg claims that the company’s browser will include Microsoft in the list of third-party tracking scripts blocked by desktop and mobile browsers.
Weinberg wrote that previously, Microsoft was limited in the way it could apply its 3rd-Party Loading Protection to Microsoft tracking scripts because of a policy requirement relating to Bing’s use as a source for private search results. We are glad that this is no more the case. We have never had and will not have any similar limitations with any other company.”
Many pervasive and identifying items load on modern websites. DuckDuckGo’s default blocking scripts from Google and Facebook loading on third-party sites was the issue. DuckDuckGo uses Microsoft’s Bing to provide search results. However, it had to allow specific Microsoft trackers to load due to a policy requirement. Weinberg stated in a Reddit reply that Microsoft’s trackers had not been allowed to load at all. This included third-party cookies being used for fingerprinting visitors.
However, there’s more to the delicate dance of DuckDuckGo with Microsoft than just trackers. Microsoft also offers ads that appear in DuckDuckGo’s search results. The DuckDuckGo apps will not block requests from bat.bing.com to allow advertisers to see who clicked on an advertisement at DuckDuckGo. Weinberg says this can be avoided by turning off the DuckDuckGo search completely. Weinberg says that the company is currently validating ads in non-tracking ways. This is similar to similar efforts by Safari and Firefox.
DuckDuckGo is aiming to be more transparent about tracker blocking. The company uploaded its tracker list to a public GitHub repo and published a help doc about its tracking protections.
Although it may seem like a lot of work for two scripts, DuckDuckGo manages to strike a delicate balance between making its search product relevant and convenient while offering users as much privacy protection as possible. The 15-year-old business from Paoli in Pennsylvania can’t leave Bing alone. In his May Reddit reply, Weinberg pointed out that Bing is responsible for most of the traditional search results and images. Weinberg stated that only two companies, Microsoft and Google, have high-quality global web link indexes due to their billion-dollar costs. Search to the world wide web requires a long journey for every company.
Microsoft continues to expand its advertising markets. It recently reached Netflix and could potentially enter with its operating system. Its advertising revenues were $3 billion on June 30, which is a 15 per cent increase year-over-year but the lowest growth rate over a year.