In early March, Brave announced that it had acquired the open search engine Tailcat and that it would be used as the basis to launch Brave Search, a privacy-centric alternative to Google Search and Bing. Fast forward a few months and Brave Search is now available as a public beta that anyone can launch and use.
Brave positions its new search engine as a “stand-alone” option that is built with its own search index, thus eliminating the need to use third parties. The company explains that its search engine can compare its results with the results of third-party search engines and “mix” the content that it will show on the results page. Users will see an “Independence of Results” score in these cases, with Brave noting that this does not compromise user privacy.
Privacy is the key aspect of Brave Search, which is designed so that users can choose between ad-supported searches and premium ad-free searches. The company promises a number of other features, including an open nature to power other search engines, transparency to avoid biased and censored results, and what the company says is seamless integration with its privacy browser.
Brave Search does not track user data, including search queries, according to the company, which lashes out at competitor DuckDuckGo for pointing out that it relies on Microsoft’s Bing search index for results . Users are reminded that Brave Search is currently in beta and may not offer everything that users initially expect.
Brave Search can be used now by going to the search.brave.com website. Users can make beta their default search engine on Brave browser and most other browsers, and it can be viewed and used on mobile devices.
The new offering comes against a backdrop of growing concerns about data tracking, as well as heightened public awareness of privacy issues related to ‘big tech’. Opting out of data tracking is often a tedious process involving various extensions and web compromises. Some browsers like Opera and Firefox eliminate the need to manually install these extensions by providing extensive privacy protection features as built-in tools.
Protecting your privacy while searching the internet is more difficult, which is where a privacy-focused search engine like Brave Search comes in. Unlike Google Search, which tracks user data, including what they’re looking for, Brave says it doesn’t collect this information, making it impossible for the company to sell or share information about its users.