DuckDuck(HERE We)Go.

The other day I suggested you listen to an interview with Gabe Weinberg from DuckDuckGo (or, as I called him then, Dave Winberg from DuckDucGo, because typo), where he sat down with Kara Swisher talking about privacy and what you can do. Although I didn’t mention it in my post, they did talk about Apple Maps being used as the ethical alternative by DuckDuckGo (and Kara mocking it a bit for quality). I don’t know about Apple Maps, maybe it’s shit, maybe it’s good. On my phone I’m using Google Maps and HERE WeGo (I just realised it was renamed from HERE Maps to HERE WeGo… in 2016) next to each other for navigation. I like the ui of HERE WeGo, it contains speed limit data and it has full offline maps.


I actually like the way DuckDuckGo solved the mapping problem. Because of course you have a bit of an added responsibility when you are building an open and privacy minded system, in that you have to offer choice, a problem you don’t have to deal with in a walled Garden™. (Well you still should… but you usually don’t.)

DuckDuckGo offers the a ux similar to Google when searching for a location: it will offer you the text based results list, plus a sidebar with a mapping result if available:

If you click on the map on the right, it’ll take you to the aforementioned Apple Maps result, but here comes the trick: if you want to navigate to the result, you get a simple dropdown.

Here you click your route planner tool of choice, and lo and behold, you get your navigation:

So simple, yet so powerful.

(Note 1: although not part of the core DuckDuckGo ux, by using HERE WeGo, you also get this result synced in your search history on your phone, so the need to send location from web to app is circumvented. And of course this means it’ll make its way through HERE’s servers, which is a privacy yellow flag on its own right; Audi, BMW, Daimler will now have access your route data. But at least it’s an EU company. And it’s not Google.)

(Note 2: oddly enough, Apple Maps is not included in that list of route planner options. I’m assuming Apple didn’t think it was important to plan routes on the web, because of course you don’t need that option, they know better. Privacy focused? Yes. Walled garden? Also yes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

Header image: my own photo from near Sankt Koloman, Austria. After this photo we took to the Wurzenpass.)

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