Brave Is Building a Privacy-Focused Search Engine to Counter Google-news

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(Credit: Brave)

The company behind the Brave browser is developing a privacy-focused alternative search engine that promises to never profile your internet activities.   

Brave Software is marketing the upcoming search engine as an antidote to “Big Tech,” and Google’s need to harvest your search history to serve relevant ads and offer recommendations.

Brave is ditching the data-collection practices entirely. Instead, it plans on providing two alternatives. The first is going to be a paid search engine with no ads. The second will be an ad-supported free version that’ll nevertheless refrain from harvesting your search history. 

To pull this off, the search engine will incorporate the approach the Brave browser has been using to serve privacy-preserving ads to users: The browser will “pay” you to view specially created Brave ads, and reward you with a digital token. In return, you can use the tokens to fund your favorite publishers and content creators on the web.  

Brave is creating the search engine via the acquisition of Tailcat, an open search engine under development from the same team that created the now-defunct Cliqz web browser.

There are still a lot of unknowns about the search engine. For instance, Brave has vaguely said it’ll use “anonymized contributions from the community” to refine its search results. Nevertheless, it won’t be easy to shake Google’s hold over the market. Both the company’s search engine and its Chrome browser have dominated the market for years, despite attempts by Microsoft’s Bing and DuckDuckGo to attract users. (The default search engine on the Brave browser itself goes to Google.)

However, Brave says it’s clear internet users want more privacy. As evidence, the company points to the “unprecedented growth” in the Brave browser itself, which has been designed to stop invasive ad trackers. 

“Brave has grown significantly over the past year, from 11 million monthly active users to over 25 million. We expect to see even greater demand for Brave in 2021 as more and more users demand real privacy solutions to escape Big Tech’s invasive practices,” CEO Brendan Eich said in today’s announcement.

The company is currently working on integrating the search engine into the Brave browser. So for now, you have to sign up on a waitlist to try it out. But the company plans on making the search engine available to other browsers too at some point. “Brave Search is open: we do not believe in walled gardens and, as such, we will offer Brave Search to power other search engines,” the company added. 

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