Brave takes on Google with a privacy-focused search engine


Artwork by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Brave Browser Builder has acquired a search engine project that prioritizes user privacy, a distinction he hopes will set it apart from Google, the undisputed leader in Internet search.

On Wednesday, Brave said he bought Cat tail, which was developed by Cliqz, a privacy-conscious subsidiary of German Hubert Burda Media. Tailcat, which Burda closed in 2020, was designed to display results without logging users’ search activity or creating a profile. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Burda is now a shareholder of Brave.

Brave eventually plans to serve search ads via Brave search, as the Tailcat technology is now called. Brave opened a waitlist on Wednesday so beta testers can try it out in the coming weeks, with general availability slated for late spring or summer.

The startup hopes to pay users to see ads, as it does with its flagship browser. Brave’s existing browser-based ad system pays 70% of ad revenue to Brave users who opt into the system, called Brave Rewards.

“If we get to that promised land of our own automated search ad system, we’ll give the user at least what we earn,” said chief executive Brendan Eich.

Brave is unlikely to dethrone Google Search anytime soon. But Tailcat could show there’s room for financial success with a company that puts privacy first. The Brave browser has grown steadily since its initial release in 2016. Eich predicts that Brave will have up to 50 million monthly users by the end of the year, double the 25 million users it currently counts. It does not publish financial information, but its turnover has increased 28 times over the past 16 months and it now employs 115 people.

Of course, taking on Google is a colossal undertaking. The search giant represents more than 90% search queries, according to analytics firm StatCounter. Microsoft Bing is a distant second with less than 3%. Other companies like Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and StartPage repackage Bing and Google search results.

Twenty years ago, Google got a head start because its algorithms, including the seminal PageRank technology created by Google co-founder Larry Page, delivered fast, relevant results. His AdWords system, which displays advertisements next to search results, remains a money-making machine.

Brave Search starts out with a disadvantage as it has a smaller web index than Google. Brave will attempt to overcome this hurdle by supplementing the algorithms that assess relevance with anonymous data from Brave users themselves.

Brave may do this by analyzing data the browser collects about user searches and the links they click, information that may be shared anonymously. Cliqz has hired outside security researchers to test the system, Eich said, and is confident the research data cannot be traced back to any individual.

The company’s new search service will still rely to some degree on Google’s expertise. In Eich’s view, wholesale copying Google’s entire search results for a given search query is inappropriate. Corn the follow-up of the link on which Internet users click among these results is “OK”, he said, as long as it’s done anonymously and with users’ permission. Brave Search will only collect data from users who register, says Eich.

Many companies use privacy as part of their sales pitch, and Google is a frequent target. However, with shifts in user privacy priorities and regulatory pressure, Google is changing its ways. On Wednesday he said that from next year he stop tracking individuals when they visit different websites. the the executive who made the announcement was David Temkin, Director of Product Management for Ads Privacy and Trust at Google. Previously, he was a product manager at Brave.

Source link


Comments are closed.