New Tools for Taking Control of Your Web Browsing

Michael Calore: Part of me wants to say Lynx because I would love to just enjoy the web with text only. But I think the practical side of me is going to have to say Chrome.

Lauren Goode: Wow.

Michael Calore: Yeah.

Lauren Goode: I mean, you went for the obvious choice.

Michael Calore: Yeah. I mean, it’s the default on the web right now.

Lauren Goode: What if I told you that you should maybe reconsider DuckDuckGo?

Michael Calore: I would say DuckDuck … Maybe?

Lauren Goode: All right. Well, we’re going to talk about that today. Hi, everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I’m Lauren Goode. I’m a senior writer at WIRED.

[Gadget Lab intro theme music plays]

Michael Calore: And I am Michael Calore. I’m a senior editor at WIRED.

Lauren Goode: And we’re also joined today by WIRED senior writer Matt Burgess, who’s joining us from the UK. Hey, Matt.

Matt Burgess: Hi, good to be here.

Lauren Goode: Is this your debut on the Gadget Lab? I think it is, right?

Matt Burgess: It is. Yeah, it is.

Lauren Goode: It’s very exciting. Well, if Matt’s voice sounds a little bit familiar to all of you, it’s probably because you’ve heard it on The WIRED Podcast, which is hosted by our colleagues in the UK. And Matt is joining us via Zoom here on the dark side. I guess I should say the rainy side. It’s very rainy in San Francisco today.

Michael Calore: Yeah, it’s a little wet.

Lauren Goode: It’s a little wet. But today we’re not talking about the weather. We’re talking about browsers. Browsers, you say. Boring. OK. But before you tune out or decide to listen to another podcast, this is really important. I mean, a lot of you may just fire up your laptop, or tap on your phone, and you go search for something without really thinking about which browser you’re using, which honestly is probably what some of the tech companies want, for you just to default to their browser on your device. But browsers are hugely important in tech land, both historically and now. While of course there were browsers before it, the launch of Netscape back in the ’90s really changed the way people use this relatively new thing called the World Wide Web. And then, in the following years, Microsoft underwent a lengthy legal battle over accusations that it was abusing its market power because of the way it handled its web browser on computers.

OK, but today we’re in a whole new era. There are a few more browsers than that. And yet it’s a fierce competition for all of them to become better and faster and more secure, and less of a battery hog. So in the second half of the show, we’re going to go over some tips for making the most of your browser. But first, Matt, you just wrote a story for WIRED about a new alternative browser developed by DuckDuckGo. And DuckDuckGo is a company that says it focuses on privacy, which means it offers search and browsing tools that don’t just siphon up every last scrap of your data. Matt, what is DuckDuckGo’s new pitch here? And could this really put a dent in Mike’s beloved Chrome?

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