How good are Brave Search Summarizer's AI-powered quick results?
Brave Search Summarizer is a new AI-powered feature that provides quick answers to user queries on Brave Search results pages on desktop and mobile.
Summarizer content is displayed at the top of the search results page. It is displayed for some queries but not all. Searches for Windows 11 and Windows 12 returned Summarizer results, while searches for PlayStation VR2 or Microsoft did not.
Brave notes: "The Summarizer provides concise and to-the-point answers at the top of Brave Search results pages, in response to the user’s input, solely based on Web search results".
Summarizer was trained by Brave to "process multiple sources of information present on the Web". Brave notes that this was done to improve the accuracy of its answers. Since the answers are always based on existing web content, original sources are always cited by the new AI feature. Users may activate the links to check the source and verify the information.
The use of web content ensures that Summarizer results are up to date, according to Brave. Besides generating quick answers to user queries, Summarizer was also trained to replace results snippets of individual webpages. It was trained to highlight information related to the user's query, whenever possible.
Brave points out that its system is different from AI chat tools, which the company says "can provide fabricated answers". Brave's Summarizer tool aggregates "the latest sources on the Web" and provides source attribution for transparency and accountability.
AI chat tools have advanced rapidly. ChatGPT, for example, did not cite sources when it launched as a public preview in late 2022. Microsoft Bing Chat, which is based on the technology, does cite sources, however.
Brave Search Summarizer does not rely on third-parties. It uses Brave owned and operated models "that are highly tuned to be as efficient as possible at inference time".
Brave admits that summaries are generated for only 17% of queries at the time. The company hopes that the number will grow as it is scaling the system.
On the technical side, Brave Search Summarizer is "composed of three different LLMs trained on different tasks".
- The first large language model was trained to extract concrete answers from text snippets.
- After the initial phase, result candidates are classified, and certain results, e.g. spam results, are dropped during this phase.
- The Summarizer processes the final set of candidates, rewrites the input to remove repetition and improve readability.
How to turn off Summarizer on Brave Search
Brave Search users may turn off Summarizer completely and removed from search results pages.
The setting is not yet displayed in the search settings, despite Brave stating that users can turn off Summarizer results in the settings.
Here is how that is done:
- Load https://search.brave.com/settings.
- Locate the Summarizer option and toggle it off.
Brave Summarizer displays a quick answer for certain user queries on Brave. While limited currently to a selection of queries, it may provide users with direct answers to certain queries. Links may be followed to read the sources, and users may browse the organic list of results as well to check out other sources.
The answers of Summarizer depend on the sources that the AI selected. They may contain inaccuracies, rumors, or false claims. The answers are still useful in most cases, but they require verification.
The last major Brave Search addition was Discussions. It added content from forums and discussion boards to the search results.
Now You: do you use Brave Search? What is your take on Summarizer?
I think it’s an useless gimmick. They should focus on providing more relevant results, especially if you’re asking questions to have results from sources like Quora or reddit that are compartmentalized in their own subsection, kind of like how Google does it.
Nobody who’s sane cares about that AI/ChatGPT crap.
Brave Search is one of the 10 search engines I use (Firefox).
Up to now I’ve blocked cookies for [brave.com] (the domain, globally) given the search engine saves some of the user’s preferences in cookies, some others in the localStorage, which is a policy I disagree with.
Cookies blocked means no access to Brave Search’s settings : hence, I removed blocking cookies for [brave.com]
Now we have access to Brave Search settings : [https://search.brave.com/settings] but even then the ‘Summarizer ‘ option does not appear.
I had a look on what could be blocked by uBO and found (effective only for [https://search.brave.com/settings]) a blocking rule :
Filter list : AdGuard Tracking Protection filter
I disabled the rule, reloaded the page, but still no ‘Summarizer’ option.
From there on, restored the uBO rule, restored blocking cookies for [brave.com].
Brave Search may be a valuable search engine, as I said I do use it occasionally, but it is definitely too complicated in the way it manages its settings and cookies+localStorage for me to have any more interest for it than for occasional use. Moreover, generally speaking, I’m not fond of what I consider as exotic tools in the frame of search engines : all I wish is to have search results, nothing less and nothing more.
Honestly, I prefer using just a basic privacy-focused search engine and am not a fan of AI. Just like with 3D televisions, every so often someone gets a galaxy brain idea to push the technology once again and ultimately after the initial hype it once again proves to be disappointing. Probably because the people pushing the idea are doing so to make money, rather than because it’s better than what it’s supposed to be replacing.
However, to Brave’s credit, they haven’t gone all in on the AI marketing hype BS and are pretty honest about AI search. From the Brave link in the article (https://brave.com/ai-summarizer/) it say the following, which is pretty on point:
“…Given the current advancements in AI, it’s crucial to remind users that one should not believe everything an AI system produces, in much the same way one should not believe everything that is published on the Web”.
“…Although the industry is generating much hype around AI, at Brave we are not yet convinced that LLMs can replace search as we know it. However, if used properly, these new models can help the user navigate results, which is the approach we follow with the Summarizer. Chat-like interfaces and oracle-based search remain unproven and, as of today, we remain skeptical that they’ll be useful for all search tasks”.
“…Unlike AI chat tools which can provide fabricated responses, the Summarizer generates a plain-written summary at the top of the search results page, aggregating the latest sources on the Web and providing source attribution for transparency and accountability”.
What was the point of Brave search again? When I went there just now, it talks about them collecting “anonymous telemetry” by default. So basically they are just another search engine now that collects user data, despite not being that good.