Brave Search introduces Discussions to add real-human conversations to search results

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 21, 2022
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Brave Search, a search engine operated by the maker of the Brave Browser, is showing content from user discussions for certain queries now.

brave search discussions

Brave Software acquired the search engine technology developed by Tailcat in 2021. Tailcat was originally developed by Cliqz, a company Mozilla had invested in. Tailcat was rebranded to Brave Search, and was set as the default search engine in Brave in some regions.

Brave Search is available as a web search engine that anyone may use. It works similarly to other search engines, but still has a beta tag.

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The new Discussions section is added as a block to the search results. A search for "how to upgrade to Windows 11" returns articles, video content, and also the new discussions section. The returned results were not matching the search query for this particular result. Instead of providing answers to the question, all four visible results asked whether it was worth upgrading to Windows 11.  Discussions needs finetuning to return better results in Discussions.

Brave Software notes that Discussions is bringing "real human conversations (and answers)" to the search results pages.

With Discussions, search results on Brave Search are augmented with actual conversations related to the query, pulled from popular forum sites like Reddit. This allows users to easily see what the community is saying about a topic, rather than just reading content curated by websites.

Discussions is an attempt to add value to the search results by adding another source of information to the results. Traditional search engine algorithms may favor certain sites in the results, which often reduces the quality of the results.

The recently posted article Google Search is dying provides some examples of how bad Google Search has become in recent time.

Discussions adds another viewpoint to the search results according to Brave Software. While content from sites such as Reddit has already been included in organic results, Discussions is giving that content its own section in the search results to elevate it and make it more visible.

Currently, Discussions is pulling data from Reddit and StackCommerce only, but Brave Software promises that more sources will be added in the future.. Brave Search's algorithm analyzes the search query to find out if discussion content is available to add to the quality of results. It uses a variety of signals for that, including recency, popularity, quality of content and relevancy.

Brave Software is working on another feature, called Brave Goggles, for Brave Search, which " will allow users to create their own result filters, and rulesets to constrain a searchable space or alter result ordering".

Closing Words

Discussions promotes content from certain discussion forums and sites in Brave Search. Only two content sources are used at the time, which is very limiting. Adding more sources may remove the limitation. It will be interesting to see whether Brave Search's Discussion feature will include non-forum sites, e.g., blogs with lots of comments on a certain topic, in Discussions.

Now You: have you tried Brave Search? What is your take on the new Discussions feature?

Summary
Brave Search introduces Discussions to add real-human conversations to search results
Article Name
Brave Search introduces Discussions to add real-human conversations to search results
Description
Brave Search, a search engine operated by the maker of the Brave Browser, is showing content from user discussions for certain queries now.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. yanta said on April 21, 2022 at 8:50 am
    Reply

    The only problems I have with Brave are a lack of results and this damned captcha. I get hit with captcha on 9 out of 10 searches and after moving the slider it takes about 30 seconds to get results. If they don’t stop the damn captcha I’ll have to change to another search provider.

    1. owl said on April 21, 2022 at 9:30 am
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      @yanta,
      I have with Brave are a lack of results and this damned captcha.

      I have never had a captcha when using LibreWolf, Firefox or Safari, which I use regularly.
      I did find that I was more likely to get a captcha when using Brave.
      You’re right, the captcha is annoying.
      As for the results, I feel that they can be complemented by using from the alternative engine “buttons” that appear in Brave Search.

      1. Iron Heart said on April 21, 2022 at 11:38 am
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        @owl

        The captcha might get triggered by Brave’s default fingerprinting defenses. It is kinda ironic since Brave Search is from the same company, but we ought not forget that Brave Search was acquired from Tailcat (who did obviously not optimize it for Brave). They should fix Brave Search in a way that makes it tolerate Brave’s FP defenses better. Just my 2 cents.

      2. Iron Heart said on April 21, 2022 at 11:42 am
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        @owl

        Another possibility is you performing a high number of searches per day with the same IP address, so the backend servers could mistake your behavior for a DDOS attack. This could be a reason for the captcha, too. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I have experienced this once with StartPage, more than approx. 20 – 30 searches per day and you will be mistaken for a DDOS attack already, hahahaha.

      3. owl said on April 21, 2022 at 12:14 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart,
        > Another possibility is you performing a high number of searches per day with the same IP address,

        Yes, I am aware of the “requirements to be established” in general terms.
        In my case, I am using a VPN and my IP address is not constant. Moreover, this only occurs when using “Brave”.

        So your first argument would be appropriate.
        Your reply and explanation will be a good reference for those who view this article. I appreciate it.

  2. owl said on April 21, 2022 at 9:13 am
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    “Brave Search” has been the default in all of my browsers since it was first released in beta.
    LibreWolf, Firefox ESR, Firefox Developer Edition, Firefox Nightly, Pale Moon, Brave, Safari.
    However, as for Tor Browser, it is “DDG” as it is.

    From the browser’s Search Engine list, we have removed Google, Bing, and Amazon.com, and added StartPage, Wikipedia (en), Whoogle, e-Words, Qiita, Ghacks.net, GitHub, GitLab MozillaZine.jp, Mozilla Support, MozillaWiki (en), MDN Web Docs, [email protected], and Brave community Search. This selection has served my use case well.

    I am excited about the new feature (human review).
    Well, I will take the long view.

    1. owl said on April 21, 2022 at 11:50 am
      Reply

      Brave’s blog states that “Google search shows only websites with search engine optimization (SEO), so many users add ‘reddit’ to their search terms” and that the company has developed the “Discussions” feature to emphasize “answers by real people that users want”.

      What to do, and what happens, will depend on active and quality feedback and user support (official forums and GitHub).

    2. Iron Heart said on April 23, 2022 at 8:21 am
      Reply

      @owl

      You should also take a look at Mojeek:

      https://www.mojeek.com/

      And perhaps more importantly, take a look at Searx / SaerXNG:

      https://searx.space/

      I use SearXNG because they are the one of the few truly open source engines when it comes to their backend code, DuckDuckGo for example does not open source their backend code… It is important to use an instance with HTTP grade “V”, meaning it is running the original GitHub code. Also, I preferably use SearXNG which is a fork of Searx; SearXNG now has more active development and works better (all instances designated with a 2022.xx.yy version scheme are SearXNG instances).

      In general, even though I have a high degree of trust in SearXNG, I bookmark websites that I regularly visit to reduce my reliance on search engines. Yes, it is an easy, perhaps even primitive step of privacy protection, but the less you use something, the less information it can steal from you.

      1. owl said on April 23, 2022 at 10:35 am
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        @Iron Heart,

        Thanks.
        The “Mojeek” shows up as an alternate engine “button” in Brave Search. And I prefer to “push” it.
        For Searx / SaerXNG, I will keep in mind.
        But your commentary is also useful “for future reference”.
        Thanks for your valuable and kind reply.

  3. anona said on April 21, 2022 at 10:16 am
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    I don’t use Brave Browser (Firefox instead), but I do use Brave Search. Their results are slightly better than DuckDuckGo, and it is a good feeling knowing that they use an independent index rather than regurgitating Bing results.

    They should work on adding Brave Search to more browsers, not just Brave Browser. Safari is especially important as you can’t add custom search engines.

  4. Tom Hawack said on April 21, 2022 at 10:30 am
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    I’ve tried Brave Search. One page only of search results reminded me of Google’s ‘I’m feeling lucky’ (back in the very old days when Google was a companion). I cannot rely on a search engine which either delivers one page only of results either sets these results’ order accordingly to the user’s data it collected.

    Concerning the ‘Discussions within search results’ concept, I don’t see in what the subjectivity of a few would contribute to a better experience. And that’s true for everything: democracy has now included the voice of masses and promoted it in such a way that it dominates professional skills of professional technicians, mainly because pros have proved too often to use their aura in order to influence the user (à la Google).

    What I appreciate is professionalism together with honesty. I don’t think masses bring anything valuable, individuals yes, not masses. And social networks show us everyday what psychology of the masses explains : a world of wolves among sheep.

    1. Frankel said on April 21, 2022 at 10:44 am
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      Ah yes good rant, I enjoyed reading. Today the two sides of the same coin are:

      1) SEO / influencer crap manipulating results
      2) AI trying to guess what is right for me, just because the average Joe clicks the wrong result most

      1. Tom Hawack said on April 21, 2022 at 11:28 am
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        @Frankel, you’ve understood 1), but your 2) describes a topic I haven’t mentioned. I don’t think anyone is trying to guess what is right for me but rather trying to express what they think is right for them as a universal truth : the idea is that we finally get squeezed between pros who (can) manipulate and illiterates who consider themselves as the center of the world.

        I appreciate so-called elites, their knowledge, their talent but unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned it, too many don’t follow the idea that more you have, more powerful you are, more you have the obligation to conduct yourself with moral decency.

        No rant, this is factual. When the powerful don’t respect the week then winds of revolution are never far away. Revolution nowadays is the increasing cancer of conspiracy theories, a general awareness of elites, medias, politicians, not to mention paranoia regarding the powerful, whoever they are. The consequence is populism and the rise of extremist positions.

        In other words lack of ethics is the first cause (the “principle”) of chaos.

      2. Frankel said on April 21, 2022 at 12:21 pm
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        /watch?v=0Ms-Up_Ef0w
        Simulation #569 Zach Vorhies – Google Whistleblower & AI Censorship

        You mean this issue? Or the good old google for “american inventors” and look at the results being biased.

        I cut the youtube link since harmless stuff being posted often needs to be whitelisted here.

    2. Yash said on April 21, 2022 at 10:57 am
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      Quantity over quality. Personally I hate these sort of features. Reminds me of Yahoo search and answers. If you’re going to extract material from one site then why bother adding discussions? Just show the damn site link. But then as you said quantity over quality. Pushing more social media type content down our throats without asking.

      1. Tom Hawack said on April 21, 2022 at 3:10 pm
        Reply

        @Yash, seems to me that quantity is worthy by itself when it is the addition of specifics and unworthy when it is the multiplication of a mold. Quantity is most valuable when it illustrates pluralism and diversity but problematic when it is multiplication, repetition, as in advertisement, as in hawking. I don’t want to forget that refusing diversity is the very argument of sectarians, dictators and, closer to us, short/square-minded mentalities. Not to mention that pluralism feeds quality, pluralism but not brainwashed mass blabla which considers repeating what it has heard is their contribution to a better world.

      2. Yash said on April 21, 2022 at 6:01 pm
        Reply

        Yep. A simple example can be – asking 10 person same question. You’ll get a truly diverse opinion when all 10 can’t listen to one another. Even if all 10 are present in same room then some will change their mind depending on what others say. Even that is good. But real problem starts when a majority formed because of similar views tries to stop others from having a say because for them, they have the most number.

        We see in social media world where several whataboutery merchants diss others and they brag because they have followers.

        In Brave discussion the biggest issue which I can already see even if there is no final form is over time we’ll see quantity over quality. Same like social media whataboutery merchants. If you want to improve a product, better do it in a way which shows diverse answers about a query which an emphasis on quantity with quality to censor extreme ones. Right now this process looks more like Google.

  5. Briar Patch 2 said on April 21, 2022 at 2:47 pm
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    Yes, and if you install and use BAT, with an account, provide a personal DNA sample, and all of your social media and banking specifics, then you too, can participate in these conversations.
    Just another way to suck people in to their silo.
    If you’re going to represent yourselves (Brave browser) as privacy focused, how about providing the at least the essential components of privacy, some means of anonymity?

    1. Iron Heart said on April 23, 2022 at 8:26 am
      Reply

      @Briar Patch 2

      LOL, the “Discussions” view on Brave Search fetches the threads from Reddit. Reddit has nothing to do with Brave ecosystem.

      And if you want to withdraw your BAT from the browser, it has to be to a wallet that supports such withdrawals, and you will be hard-pressed to find a custodial wallet where you don’t have to identify yourself (it’s similar to a bank account after all). BUT, this is only an “issue” if you opted into Brave Rewards which are off by default. Your complaint is nonsense, Brave Rewards is not a requirement for using Brave and is not forced on you at all.

      1. Briar Patch 2 said on April 23, 2022 at 5:08 pm
        Reply

        Then, simple. Remove the BAT code from the browser until the user opts-in. Get it da-fuq out of the default browser, as is it’s a nag-ware nuisance. Must be a pretty powerful self-serving reason why Brave refuses to remove the BAT components until such time as opt-in occurs.
        Your dismissive, self superior attitude, gets old, real quick. And prompts a ESAD from me.

      2. Iron Heart said on April 23, 2022 at 10:37 pm
        Reply

        @Briar Patch 2

        Sorry, but it’s not possible to “remove” the Brave Rewards / BAT code unless and until you enable it. Such a component can only be disabled, not removed. That is, unless you are talking about an extension, i.e. that enabling Brave Rewards would trigger an extension download. That’s possible in theory, but then, really in theory only. Once Brave Rewards is enabled, a local algorithm in Brave analyzes your browsing in order to pick from a locally downloaded, general list of ads for you. What that means is that Brave Rewards likely needs greater access to the browser than what would be possible under the very stiff limitations of extension APIs on Chromium.

        The way I see it, you can be pragmatic about it or you can play the ideologue. The pragmatic person would decline the question “Do you want to enable Brave Rewards”, and then proceed to disable the Brave Rewards button in the address bar and the very limited range of widgets on the new tab page. Boom, done. In under 2 minutes most likely. Since the code is not active there is no need to care about it, it is not sending anything anywhere (it also would not do this in a PII-fashion if it actually was enabled, but that’s another story).

        Option number two would be to be a total ideologue about it, disagree with code that is there even though it is disabled and does literally nothing, and use another browser. There are e.g. Bromite or Ungoogled Chromium, which are both extremely barebones and should not have any feature that “offends” you. Be aware though that these are hobby projects and that they don’t offer the same privacy protections that Brave would. So you are losing out on that front. But if the crypto aspect of Brave “offends” you so much, then this is the trade you are going to make in the end.

        Good luck on your journey, it is hard for me to agree with your position since I tend to be more pragmatic about things in general.

  6. Herman Cost said on April 21, 2022 at 3:11 pm
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    Brave search is now my default search on all of my browsers, but this new feature is a definite minus for me. I’d like to see them focused on improving and expanding their search function not taking up space with ‘discussions’ displaying the kind of social media noise I generally work hard to block.

    1. Herman Cost said on April 21, 2022 at 3:31 pm
      Reply

      While my comment stands, I should add that I just found that Discussions can be disabled in the Brave search settings function. So at least it is no longer taking up significant space on the top section of my search results page. Martin, I think you should note the ability to disable it in your article.

      1. S Rose said on May 19, 2022 at 12:43 am
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        Your comment is the only one I’ve seen on multiple articles about this “feature” to even mention that it can be shut off.

        Instructions on how to do so should be on every “Discussions” article. Problem is that it turns itself back on every time the browser is closed.

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