Privacy was a big topic for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, which isn’t surprising: It’s the first WWDC since Edward’s Snowden's revelations about the secret digital surveillance techniques of the National Security Agency. Apple touted new privacy tools in its Safari web browser for OS X Yosemite, including easier ways to separate private browsing windows from windows that save browser history.
One feature it did not announce during the keynote speech was the ability to use DuckDuckGo, a search engine that claims to be completely secure and private, as the default search engine in Safari. DuckDuckGo tweeted the announcement, and it was confirmed on Apple’s website under a section titled “New features to protect your privacy.”
â€” DuckDuckGo (@duckduckgo) June 2, 2014
It isn’t clear if iOS 8 will have the same ability.
Tech journalists also noticed that Apple quietly dropped Google from its Spotlight search feature in favor of Bing. Google can still be made the default search engine for Safari, but it was yet another example of Apple further distancing itself from Google.
Apple also demonstrated new privacy features with iOS, such as processing search suggestions, predictive texting, and Touch ID information on the device rather than on Apple’s servers. The company seems to have taken consumer concerns about privacy to heart -- and perhaps sees them as a way to differentiate the Apple brand.