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Earlier this year, DuckDuckGo announced that its map and address-related searches are now powered by Apple’s MapKit JavaScript framework. This enabled them to offer improved address searches, additional visual features, enhanced satellite imagery, and better privacy. Since then the company has further expanded the use of Apple Maps for enhanced search while adhering to its commitment to user privacy, according to a blog post shared yesterday.

Here are some of the map-related search enhancements in DuckDuckGo:

Map re-querying

Previously, for every new map-related search you were redirected to the regular DuckDuckGo Search page. Now, it will allow you to stay in its expanded map view to refine local searches instantly. Additionally, when you move around the map or zoom in and out, the search results will be updated to include places within the field of view.

Source: DuckDuckGo

Intelligent autocompletion

To make searching much easier and faster, the search engine now provides intelligent auto-completion within the expanded map view. As you type or update a new search query, DuckDuckGo will dynamically show search suggestions that are tailored to the local region displayed.

A dedicated Maps tab

Similar to Google, you will see a dedicated Maps tab in DuckDuckGo at the top of every search results page. Previously, the Maps tab was shown only for map-related searches, but from now on you will consistently see the tab alongside Images, Videos, and News. So, if you search for “cupcakes” and go to the Maps tab you will see local cupcake places.

“Privacy by design, without any tradeoffs”

Along with these great enhancements, DuckDuckGo is also promising for stricter user privacy. “A lot has changed with using maps on DuckDuckGo making it an even smoother experience, but what hasn’t changed is the way we handle your data—or rather, the way we don’t do anything with your data. We are making local searches faster while retaining the privacy you expect,” the post reads. It further emphasized that they do not share any personally identifiable information such as IP address and also make it point to discard any such information immediately after use.

It is great that DuckDuckGo is expanding the use of Apple Maps along with promising better privacy to its users. Many users appreciated this update and believe that this is the right step towards becoming “a worthy competitor to Google Search.”

Others said that Apple Maps is way behind Google Maps. Users have experienced that Apple Maps’ quality seems to highly depend on the user location. A user shared his experience saying, “I’ve used Apple Maps as my primary map since it came out, and I’ve only gotten a wrong location one time in literally thousands of searches, and that was years ago. It wasn’t really ready when it launched, but it has gotten consistently better over time.”

He further added, “The UX is great, in many cases, the satellite imagery is more up-to-date compared to Google, and it doesn’t maul my battery to use. Not saying it’s clearly better than Google, because it isn’t, but for my usage, it’s more than “good enough,” and I love to see Apple’s privacy-respecting products compete effectively with big G.

Read the full announcement on DuckDuckGo’s official website.

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