New duckduckgo extension and Better


DuckduckGo released a new extension in January that supposedly protects your privacy online.

I don’t use their extension but I do use their search engine by default and as much as I can. I only revert back to google when duckduckgo queries are not accurate enough, which in the end only comes down to less than 5% of search requests.

This new extension joins an already long (and confusing?) list of browser extensions built to help counter tracking and protect your privacy, like better.

My workplace has iMacs for the staff so last week I purchased Better through a colleague’s App Store account but haven’t used it yet since it is Safari-only and I use Firefox by default. Eventually I’ll try it out but I’m pretty sure I won’t switch to safari by default, being a multi-platform user with Linux as my main OS on all my computers.

I’ve been following for a while now, mainly from the sideline since’s development focus is exclusively on Mac but I understand and respect that. A two-person-one-husky team can only do so much and you’ve been doing a great job so far !

So a few (innocent) questions :

  • Is going to port Better to another browser in a foreseeable future ?
  • Does anyone use the duckduckgo extension and is willing to share their experience ?
  • What is’s position regarding all the big-dev-teams multi-platform-tracker-blockers out there (ghostery, adblock, disconnect, ublock origin…) ? Not asking for a full-depth tech-analysis on which is better than which, just wondering how feels about this multitude of extensions supposedly protecting privacy like Better does.

By the way, I’m pretty sure Better does an awesome job :wink: because it respects the Ethical design manifesto !


The DuckDuckGo extension is one of the more limited blockers. uBlock Origin would probably be the best choice and in my experience catches much more with a good set of filter lists.

Has someone made a tool yet to compile Better’s content into an ABP-compliant filter list? That would make it easier for me to recommend privacy solutions for other browsers.


Thanks for your insight @luk
I use uBlock origin as well. I used to have three or four others alongside (ghostery, ABP, disconnect…) but then i started having the impression it might be hindering the navigation experience so i removed the rest just to keep uB Origin.

Can multiple tracker-blockers hinder one another when connecting to a web page, as in slowing down connection speeds more than they should ?

Is it a bad idea to stack a few different plug-ins in the hope of blocking more nasty stuff by widening the potential block lists ?


@mh8 Using multiple blocker extensions in parallel will incur a performance penalty in Firefox and Chrome. Safari is the only major browser that provides a performance-optimised content blocking API. When I tried different blocking extensions in Chrome, each one added 100–200MB memory footprint and slowed down page loads by 0.2–0.5 seconds.

Unexpected behaviour can also occur when multiple extensions are trying to modify the same web resource. Using Privacy Badger with uBO was unbearable, because Chrome regularly reported errors from the Privacy Badger extension.

I would go with a trusted main blocker like uBO and add a good selection of filter lists to it. There are extensions that provide additional privacy protections in areas that don’t interfere with uBO, such as uBlock Origin Extra.

Some good non-standard filter lists:


Thanks a lot @luk :smile:

I’ll take a look at those filter lists, i’ve been using uBO out of the box. I’ll check on that “Extra” as well.

Cheers !



unfortunately I don’t have any first-hand experience with the DuckDuckGo blocker either, but given that I’m now using uBlock Origin in Firefox and Chrome for years without any problems and have also installed it on many devices of my family and friends, I can only agree with @luk.

Moreover, I’m now following @Swiftonsecurity (a Windows System Administrator in a multi-billion company) for some time and when they write on their (btw awesome) website that after intensive testing of different blockers uBO is the best blocker, I tend to believe this as well.

Of course all of this does not mean that I think Better shouldn’t be ported to Firefox/Chrome, but as of today uBO is my top pick as well for Firefox/Chrome.

While I’m obviously not Indie (:wink:), my personal take on your last question would be the following:

There are blockers which seriously care about tracking (Better, Privacy Badger, Disconnect), ethical multi-purpose blockers like uBlock Origin (tracking, ads, malware, own lists, …) and some other blockers that either are only focus on fighting the most terrible ads but do not care about tracking per-se (AdBlock Plus whitelisting) or have some problem of credibility because they collect data themselves if not disabled (Ghostery).


Hey @julian, thanks for your insight as well.

I went to have a look at that website, looks like a good place to learn a few tricks. I’m following their twitter account as well.

I agree with your opinion on blockers. I stopped using Ghostery and AB+ when they started getting fishy about how they operated and what they blocked/didn’t block. There was a thread on this forum a while back on the topic if I remember correctly.


Sorry for being so slow to respond to this. We’ve been up to our eyeballs (in exciting, making-progress kind of things…)

We 100% aim to do so. However it does require us having the resources to do so. Right now, Better sales aren’t enough to support us working on Better full time. (And we want to be working on bigger, more impactful things anyway…) But we would like to be able to perhaps get enough funds to hire someone else to do this work…

In their exploratory phase, Aral did speak to DuckDuckGo, and I believe they have good intentions in this area (in case that’s of any value!)

It’s generally about intention, and how they make money/survive. As more extensions pop up, it’s clear that we need to be better at communicating how we are different. Especially as there are options out there (Chrome blocking ads but not Google tracking!) that claim to be providing a wonderful privacy-protecting free service when, by declaring themselves as such, they are opening people up to being vulnerable.

Key things to look out for:

  1. What is the blocking criteria? Can a tracker pay/request to be unblocked?
  2. Can you easily access the block list to see what they are blocking?
  3. Is it free and open?
  4. Is it venture-capital or big-corporation-backed?

As far as we’re concerned, uBlock Origin is the only other blocker we recommend.


Not a tool specifically, but @aral has made Better generate its block list into the EasyList format, which works with uBlock Origin (and I think ABP.)


Much appreciated! I will be sure to spread the link around to anyone using Chrome/ Firefox.


Thanks for your answer @laura, and for the head’s up on the EasyList format for uBlock Origin. Much appreciated indeed.

If Better can automatically export it’s block list for importing into uBlock Origin then i don’t see any hurry in porting Better to other browsers :slight_smile:

Hope to hear more on projects soon.