Most people aren't going to change their default iOS search provider away from Google anytime soon, but that's not stopping Apple from giving them new choices. Mixed into a slide containing dozens of new features in iOS 8 that went unmentioned on stage was something interesting: "DuckDuckGo support in Safari." With its latest mobile operating system, Apple will easily let users switch over to the privacy-minded search engine and set it as the default for all queries within Safari. The preview page for OS X 10.10 Yosemite also confirms that DuckDuckGo will be available as a search choice for desktop users.
DuckDuckGo was designed to be a less creepy and less invasive alternative to Google. It ditches the tracking habits of Mountain View, much to the relief of internet users who've grown wary of overzealous surveillance from tech companies and the government alike.
Apple gives the 'anti-Google' a major boost
Apple throwing its weight — or at least some of it — behind a startup search offering like DuckDuckGo is an interesting move. DuckDuckGo's inclusion in Safari's list of search providers should provide a decent boost to the company, letting curious users give it a quick try with just a tap. The addition can also be interpreted as yet another development in the uneasy, tense relationship between Apple and Google.
Last year, Apple did Microsoft's Bing an even larger favor by choosing it to replace Google for all Siri-related search activity in iOS 7. It's still possible to conduct voice searches by saying "Google" before whatever you're looking for, but it's an extra step that many users likely don't bother with. Google still remains the default search engine for web searches, however. Changing that would (understandably) be seen as an anti-consumer move. But iOS users can switch to Bing, Yahoo by visiting the settings menu, and starting in the fall, DuckDuckGo will be a third alternative.