DuckDuckGo is one of the most popular search engines out there. It serves as a privacy-oriented alternative to Google’s offering. The company is now launching a new feature called “App Tracking Protection” in beta for Android.
This new and free built-in feature for Android blocks third-party trackers it identifies within apps. However, it won’t block trackers coming from the app itself due to functionality-related concerns.
Since App Tracking Protection is still in beta, interested users will have to join a waitlist from the app. Update the DuckDuckGo app on Android to the latest version, open the app, navigate to Settings – App Tracking Protection (in the Privacy section) and tap on “Join the Private Waitlist.”
The company said it accepts new users every week, so there’s a good chance you’ll make it eventually. DuckDuckGo added that it is leaving some apps from App Tracking Protection “because they rely on tracking to work properly.”
DuckDuckGo will also send automatic summaries to notify users of blocked trackers
When App Tracking Protection is enabled, the DuckDuckGo app on Android will automatically know whenever the apps on your device are sending data to third-party tracking companies. It will try to match the tracking companies from its app tracker database and block those requests.
DuckDuckGo clarifies that App Tracking Protection isn’t a replacement for a virtual private network or VPN. However, your smartphone/tablet will recognize it that way since the feature utilizes a local VPN connection. The company assures users that app data is never routed through external servers.
Naturally, users can also view all the blocked trackers or the ones that attempted to send your data. Additionally, users can get automatic summaries when notifications are on. Privacy is paramount in a predominantly virtual world, and tools like these go a long way in alleviating some of those concerns.
DuckDuckGo launched a Google Chrome extension earlier this year to block Google’s new tracking method known as the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). This tracking system basically groups users based on interests and demographics using their browsing history.
Users can find the FLoC blocking feature on the DuckDuckGo extension v2021.4.8 and newer. Of course, the easiest way is to opt out of the FLoC system is to stop using Google Chrome altogether, but that may not be a viable option for those invested in its ecosystem.