Last year, we wrote about the Brave search engine, run by Mozilla pioneer Brendan Eich. Brave Search offered the first real alternative to Google since Bing by introducing a third English-language index and protecting user privacy.
A nice idea, many have thought about it, but who really cares? So what if Big Tech is making largely inexplicable billions from the commercialization of our information, as long as the social media services it provides remain free?
So perhaps surprisingly, Brave hangs on. Tech maven Jacob Carpenter recently noted to Fortune that while Google owns 92.5% of search market activity according to StatCounter, that number hasn’t changed much in a decade. And Brave is reporting 2.5 billion searches in its current search engine’s first year of operation. Carpenter notes, “If its current monthly growth rate continues, Brave Search could approach 10 billion searches over the next 12 months.”
Now DuckDuckGo, which also claims to not track users, reported 35.3 billion queries in 2021. But, as Carpenter reports, this search engine appears to have compromised its no-tracking policy by allowing Microsoft to exclude. Also, as web developer Nathan Jacobson has pointed out, there are only two main English-language indexes – those of Google and Bing and most search “alternatives” use these datasets. Brave has established a third set of research data in English. Even a user who prefers another search engine might, if stuck, find it worth trying Brave, for a fresh look at the trail.
Carpenter comments in an e-newsletter: “Brave’s chances of threatening Google dominance are quite long. Others with deeper pockets and better name recognition tried to kill the search giant, only to end up an afterthought. But if anyone can do it, why not venture with the courage in their name? »
Meanwhile, Brave unveiled a new tool – Goggles – last week that allows users to more effectively customize their own searches:
Brave has a few demos ready for users to try today, including ones that prioritize posts from smaller tech blogs and filter out posts from the top 1,000 sites on the web. There’s even a mask to exclude posts from Pinterest, because Brave clearly knows the frustration of trying to find an image and getting a Pinterest post without a source. Brave says these glasses are for demo purposes only, and developers can expand or fork them. It will start removing these glasses once users start creating their own, but hopefully the Pinterest one will stick.
Emma Roth“Brave’s search engine lets you customize your results” at The edge (June 22, 2022)
Is “Goggles” a blow to Google? Or Google Goggles, a failed app from over a decade ago? Brave will probably never tell.
Many search engine users still don’t realize the service is free, as big tech companies get fabulously rich information about what they’re looking for. They legally share information with other companies or the government. Network privacy expert Russ White asks, if you think you have nothing to hide, why are Big Tech tycoons making billions from what you and others tell them?
Inevitably, some have asked, if our attention is worth so much, shouldn’t we make a cut? Social media pioneer David Gelernter has made a proposal to share wealth more equitably. But some think money is irrelevant. White insisted here at The mind matters that money for your data won’t solve Big Tech’s privacy concerns, because privacy is a fundamental right, tied to the person rather than a price.
Before we get into money issues, maybe we need to increase the number of users who understand what we’re selling when we part with privacy.
You can also read: If Google thinks for you, use THEIR search engine. If not… Google’s monopoly affects the free exchange of ideas in the public square and our electoral process. Brave Search offers the first real alternative to Google since Bing by introducing a third English-language index and protecting user privacy.