(Credit: Duck Duck Go, Inc.)

If you're a student of search engine history, you eventually learn at least one lesson: It's pretty difficult to keep up with Google. The company's search engine has long been renowned for its nearly psychic power to deliver the web pages you're looking for, but it's remained a moving target with the addition of image searching, dynamic cards, personalized results and other bells and whistles. Yet nothing in life is free.

To use Google search to its fullest extent, you need to let it collect and retain an ever-increasing pile of personal data. But as incidents like Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal have taught us, sometimes this data isn't properly protected, to the point where the safest route may be to provide as little of it as possible.

SEE: Best apps for securing Android and managing privacy settings

As a result, if a competing search engine wants to hold its own against Google, one way may be a map function that toes the line between functionality and personal data protection. At least, that's the conclusion reached by DuckDuckGo, a privacy-oriented search provider that just announced that it's adding Apple Maps to its search results.

Keep in mind that Apple has mounted a major campaign to position itself as a privacy protector, and this initiative extends to its Maps platform. The data you put into Apple Maps won't be marketed to advertisers or hooked into related services, and this focus on privacy is right up DuckDuckGo's alley.

In the announcement, DuckDuckGo is explicit about data collection, as is tradition: "We do not send any personally identifiable information such as IP address to Apple or other third parties. For local searches, where your approximate location information is sent by your browser to us, we discard it immediately after use."

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Note that if you want driving directions as well, then DuckDuckGo does not currently offer an Apple Maps option. It defaults to Microsoft's Bing Maps, and your other options are OpenStreetMap, HERE Maps and Google Maps.

That last one may seem ironic at first glance, but while DuckDuckGo is evidently not a fan of Google, it also isn't a fan of restricting people's options. If you prefer to use Google Maps (download for iOS or Android) to get from point A to point B, DuckDuckGo won't attempt to interfere. It's not angry, just ... disappointed.


  • Privacy-oriented search provider DuckDuckGo announced today that it has integrated Apple Maps into its search results.
  • DuckDuckGo says it does not send any personally identifiable information to Apple or other third parties, and any location data is discarded immediately after use.

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Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.