Privacy-focused web browser Brave wants to compete with search engine giant Google as it prepares to launch its search engine. Like its web browser, the search engine will focus on protecting users’ privacy; it will not allow tracking or profiling.
Brave has recently acquired an open-source search engine, Tailcat, developed by Cliqz’s anti-tracking browser team. With the acquisition, Tailcat now becomes Brave’s search engine’s foundation. The company offers a unique browsing and search experience that is completely free from the oversight of big tech firms.
“Under the hood, nearly all of today’s search engines are either built by, or rely on, results from Big Tech companies. In contrast, the Tailcat search engine is built on top of a completely independent index, capable of delivering the quality people expect but without compromising their privacy. Tailcat does not collect IP addresses or use personally identifiable information to improve search results,” Brave said in a press release.
The Brave search engine uses open ranking models to prevent outright censorship and algorithmic biases. The company will also explore blockchain-based options and usage in the eCommerce sector. Brave’s search algorithm will be offered for use to other search engines.
Dr. Josep M Pujol, who heads the engineering team behind Tailcat, said that he is excited to be working on the only real private search/browser alternative. He believes that the sole way to counter big tech’s habit of collecting personal data is to develop an alternative service that will provide the same level of quality. Pujol emphasizes that people should not be forced to choose between quality and privacy.
Co-founder Brendan Eich stated that Brave’s entrance into the search engine field reflects the company’s confidence about privacy being a key factor in people’s online choices.
The trend can be verified worldwide in people’s adoption of privacy-focused services like Signal messaging after WhatsApp announced it would share Facebook data.
Brave has grown rapidly recently. The browser has attracted over 26 million monthly active users over the past year; previously, its base was 11 million. Eich is confident that Brave will grow even faster this year as people seek alternatives to big tech’s invasive practices.
As of now, the search engine hasn’t released a launch date. On the Brave website, users can sign up for a mailing list and access the search engine when it enters the testing stage.
Brave focuses on privacy
While Brave focuses on developing its privacy-focused search engine, Google seems to be taking a step back from its invasive policies. The search engine behemoth recently stated that it would not be building any alternate tools to track web browsing traffic once it phases out such technologies from the Chrome browser next year.
Google’s use of third-party cookies has been a critical component of its online ad business. The company was forced to wind down the use of third-party cookies to meet the strengthening privacy standards of Europe and the U.S.
“We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses. We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long-term investment,” the company said in a blog post.