The Brave browser will now use the company’s own search engine, which is supposed to preserve privacy, by default, while a new web discovery project aims to collect search data again with privacy protection.
The Brave web browser is based on the Google-sponsored Chromium engine, but with features designed to prevent tracking, as well as an unusual reward system using its own cryptocurrency, the Basic Attention Token (BAT). Courageous Research will now be the default on new desktop, Android, and iOS installations. Existing Brave users will keep their current default unless they choose to change it.
Brave Search was released in beta in June and uses a technology called Tailcat, acquired from the failing German Cliqz project, which also sought to provide an index without Google.
The company said in June that “for certain features, like image search, Brave Search will retrieve results from Microsoft Bing,” according to the claim by Ecosia founder Christian Kroll, who told us earlier this month that the existence of Bing is “absolutely essential” for competing search engines.
A “search independence” metric shows the percentage of results provided by the Brave index, and that percentage is 87% for all Brave search users at the time of writing. The company claims to receive nearly 80 million queries per month. Google makes that many queries in less than four minutes, according to the numbers here.
The search is smart in this regard since at the bottom of the results is an option to “find elsewhere”, in our case offering Google, Bing or Mojeek (an independent UK-based search engine). Performing a new search immediately is one of the indicators of poor search results that can possibly be saved to improve the engine.
Brave Search is currently ad-free, with the bad news being that “the free version of Brave Search will soon be ad-supported”, according to an article yesterday. “Brave Search will also offer an ad-free Premium version in the near future,” the company said, although no further details are available yet.
Brave also introduced the Web Discovery Project, a method of collecting user data (such as bad research data) while claiming to protect their privacy. “Brave needs data to fuel its search for privacy,” the project explains. The project aims to prevent the linking of records as belonging to the same person, to prevent profiling, “by strictly prohibiting any user ID”.
User data is still aggregated, but on the user’s device, and when the data is sent back to the Brave server, it omits any user IDs.
How good is Brave Search? Since many users are used to using search for navigation, many searches are trivial which means “take me to Apple” or similar. A question like “How many states in the United States” is answered by typing on Google (as a “prediction”), where the Brave search found a Wikipedia article in the first position, requiring additional clicks to get the information. .
A developer request such as “undefined function call simplexml_load_file” successfully returns a Stack Overflow entry with useful information. There are many types of research, however, and our brief experiences show that Brave lags far behind in the depth and quality of organic results, but a pleasure to use with respect to the absence of ads – and although it does. needs to change, it can be even less confusing and loaded with ads than a typical Google search results page.
While in principle a new privacy-friendly search index is welcome, there is still a long way to go before it can have a general impact. Currently, Google holds 92 percent of the market share, according to Statistics counter, with Bing in second place with 2.66 percent. In web browsers, Google Chrome and Apple Safari account for around 84% of the market, and both use Google search by default. Brave’s market share is somewhere in “Other”, although the company reports over 13 million daily active users, more than double that of a year ago. ®