Google excels at creating internet apps and services that users absolutely love. The best part about it is that the vast majority of Google apps are available for free to anyone with a computer or a phone. But that’s also the worst part about it. Google customers do pay for the apps they use for free. Whether they realize it or not, and whether they accept it or not, they pay with their data. All Google apps collect massive amounts of information about the user, and all the separate data points are used to build profiles that are then served personalized ads. It’s how Google makes money and how it’s able to keep updating its services.
Google Search is how it all started, and Search is easily Google’s most important asset. Everything we do online revolves around searching, and that’s the user-tracking starts. Brave, the company that made a Chromium-based privacy-friendly browser, has an alternative to Google Search. Brave Search public beta has just rolled out, with Brave promising “ultimate privacy.”
Brave Search will be the default search engine of Brave in the near future, but it’s available for anyone to try right now. Just visit https://search.brave.com in any browser, on any device, and you’ll get a first taste of what this Google Search alternative is all about.
Brave has high ambitions for Brave Search, saying the new tool will serve those users looking for “best-in-breed privacy-preserving search engine.” Brave Search will not track users, searches, or clicks, and it’s built on top of a completely independent index.
Brave listed seven different principles for Brave Search, as follows:
- Privacy: no tracking or profiling of users.
- User-first: the user comes first, not the advertising and data industries.
- Independence: Brave has its own search index for answering common queries privately without reliance on other providers.
- Choice: soon, options for ad-free paid search and ad-supported search.
- Transparency: no secret methods or algorithms to bias results, and soon, community-curated open ranking models to ensure diversity and prevent algorithmic biases and outright censorship.
- Seamlessness: best-in-class integration between the browser and search without compromising privacy, from personalization to instant results as the user types.
- Openness: Brave Search will soon be available to power other search engines.
Brave also says its Search engine will introduce the industry’s first search independence metric. That means Brave will tell you the ratio of results coming from its own index. The metric is “derived privately using the user’s browser,” and Brave says it doesn’t build user profiles. Users can check the metric and see how their results are displayed.
Brave Search will answer most queries, which will lead to a high independence metric. But while Brave is using its own search index rather than renting one from Google or Microsoft, image search will rely on results from Bing. This will not impact user privacy, just the independence metric.
Finally, Brave Search will not display any ads during the early part of the beta phase, but the company plans to offer ad-free paid search and ad-supported free search later. The next step is bringing private ads with BAT revenue to Brave Search, as it has done for Brave browser ads.
You can read more about Brave Search at this link, where Brave also offers a comparison between its own service, Google Search, and DuckDuckGo.