Brave Search is now the default search engine for new users in 5 regions in Brave Browser
Brave announced today that it is switching the default search of the company's Brave Browser from Google Search to Brave Search in five regions for new users. The company launched a public version of Brave Search in June 2021. Brave Search is an independent search engine that does not rely on the indexes of large companies such as Google or Microsoft.
Brave acquired the search engine Tailcat and the team responsible for it in March 2021. According to Brave, the search engine is designed with the same design principles as Brave Browser: private, user-first, choice, independent, transparent, seamless and open. You can check out our review of Brave Search, linked in the first paragraph, for additional information on the principles. Ashwin's coverage of the Brave Search AMA on Reddit may provide additional details.
Brave Search replaces Google Search as the default search engine for new Brave Browser users in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. It furthermore replaces Qwant for new users from France, and DuckDuckGo for new users from Germany. The company plans to make the switch to Brave Search for additional regions in the coming months according to the announcement.
Brave Search is available as one of several search engines in all version of the web browser. Brave Browser is available for desktop operating systems, Windows, Linux and Mac, and for the mobile operating systems Android and iOS.
Desktop users may change the search engine in the following way:
- Load brave://settings/search in the browser's address bar.
- The preference "Search engine used in the address bar" defines the search engine that is used.
- Activate the menu and select Brave if you want to make Brave Search the default search engine of the browser.
On mobile, select Brave Menu > Settings > Search Engines, and switch the search engine to Brave or another of the available search engines.
Brave Search can also be opened directly in any web browser.
Brave Search is without advertisement currently, but Brave announced plans to introduce ads to the search engine. The company is also planning on launching a premium version of Brave Search, which will be ad-free. According to Brave, Brave Search has reached "nearly 80 million queries per month" since its official launch in June 2021.
Brave Search's Web Discovery Project has been launched as well. Brave describes it as a "a privacy-preserving system for users to anonymously contribute data to improve Brave Search coverage and quality, and its independence and competitiveness against Big Tech alternatives". For users, it means that browsing data and search data is made available to Brave by users who opt-in.
Brave describes the project in the following way:
This data helps build the Brave Search independent index, and ensures Brave Search shows results relevant to search queries. For a URL to be sent, it needs to be visited independently by a large number of people; this is achieved by using the novel STAR cryptographic protocol. The WDP’s privacy-preserving methodology discards search queries that are too long or suspicious looking. It also discards odd URLs (such as capability URLs), URLs of pages that the creator defined as non-indexable, and of course pages that are not public or that require any sort of authentication. The Web Discovery Project runs automatically while a user is browsing the web, so it requires no effort on the part of contributors. Users who have opted in but no longer wish to participate can opt out at any time.
Additional information is available on the GitHub repo.
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