Brave, which currently offers an open-source web browser, is now launching a search engine that will be focused on protecting the privacy of the user.
The search engine will offer both free and ad-supported search options. When it launches, Brave will be on the second company to offer both a browser and a search engine next to Google.
Two years ago, Brendan Eich, a former executive for Mozilla which offers its Firefox browser, launched the Brave browser to compete against Google Chrome. Now, Brave is taking the next step with a new search engine that emphasises privacy for the user. This means that the search engine will not track those who use it which protects their privacy.
Brave has helped lead the charge to protect the privacy of its users for their browser. That system offers an anonymous user mode in which no data collection is made. The search engine will follow that path by not allowing IP addresses to be collected. The challenge for Brave is providing both a paid, ad-free search engine and one that accepts advertising that does not reveal information about the users.
Brave is creating its search engine based on its purchase of Tailcat, which is a company that came from Cliqz, a German-based search engine which closed last year. Tailcat had created an index of the web and built technology to exploit it, which is why Brave purchased the company. Now its new search engine will not have to use indexes from Google, Bing, or other established tech firms.
Modifications to what Tailcat had developed is relatively minimal since the company created an index which scans the query log and click log without accessing information from the user. This emphasises privacy which is what Brave was seeking in creating a new search engine. The result is that the search engine results will mostly mirror Google at least in the top responses. However, the results will not be nearly as deep compared to Google.
As stated by Eich, the goal of the Brave search engine is to give users what they want without having to reveal who they are. Plus, Brave is adding a feature called Goggles, which allow users to create filters when pulling results from their searches. This means that users can pull results of product reviews that do not contain affiliate links. Or, they can get sources of information from media outlets that are independent. The user is put in control of how they want to pull the results from the queries on Brave’s search engine.
Market Share of Search Engines and Browsers
Despite the presence of multiple companies which provide search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing, or browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google dominates the market in both categories. With a nearly 70% share of the web browser market and a dominating 92% for its search engine, Google has a near control over both web browsers and search engines.
Why Google managed to become so dominant is thanks mostly to the popularity and quality of their search engine which has now translated to their web browser. Over the years, the indexing that Google has managed for their search engine has led to over 92% of people using it to find information. The next closest search engine to Google is DuckDuckGo followed by Bing which has a mere 2.7% share of the market.
Brave does have an advantage in that the company has an established browser. With over 25 million active users for their browser, this gives Brave a built-in advantage since they can access the new search engine through that service. Of course, Brave still has a considerable amount of work to do. Building an audience for a new search engine globally will not be easy. As privacy issues increase, this has led to a strong desire for alternatives but changing people’s habits are not going to be easy.
Admittedly, one of the challenges for Brave is the subsidisation by an ad platform. While Brave Ads does support its browser program, it will be interesting to see how companies flock to advertising on the Brave search engine. With the company not collecting data about its users, just how will advertisers find what they need to tailor their ad campaigns?
Brave is taking the first step by combining its already successful browser with a search engine. This combination may prove to be enough in carving out a market for itself on a global scale. While Brave may not rival Google in size, by getting into the search engine market now before other, larger companies like Apple take the plunge, it will help open up the market and give consumers more choice.