Brave Search sees privacy browser take on Google again

Brave, best known for its privacy-minded browser, is getting into the search engine business with the launch of Brave Search. The new Google and Bing alternative is based on Tailcat, and existing privacy search technology Brave recently acquired, and aims to distinguish itself in several ways from the search mainstream.

"Under the hood, nearly all of today's search engines are either built by, or rely on, results from Big Tech companies," Brave points out. "In contrast, the Tailcat search engine is built on top of a completely independent index, capable of delivering the quality people expect, but without compromising their privacy. Tailcat does not collect IP addresses or use personally identifiable information to improve search results."

As with the Brave Browser, the new Brave Search will have a few key tenets at its core. For a start it'll be private, without tracking or profiling of users. It'll offer both ad-free paid search, and ad-supported search, though Brave's "user-first" approach means that even when you see adverts they should be free of personal tracking.

Perhaps more unusual is the promise of how Brave Search's database will be refined. "We will rely on anonymized contributions from the community to improve and refine Brave Search," the company says. It'll also use "multiple community-curated open ranking models to ensure diversity, and prevent algorithmic biases and outright censorship."

That will build on Brave's existing work on what it calls "Goggles": that is, the space from which a search engine can gather its results. Effectively rules and filters, Goggles can be developed either by an individual or a community, bringing together multiple ranking algorithms that could collectively work around accusations of bias or gatekeeping by the bigger players in the space.

As you'd expect, there'll be tight integration between Brave's browser and search products. That means features like seeing instant results as you type, and personalization. However Brave Search will also be open, and other companies will be able to use the developing database to power their own search products. That'll include open APIs for non-commercial products, such as free Linux, and other open-source OS distributions.

Down the line, Brave says, it plans to explore how it could use the blockchain, as well as integrate e-commerce into its search engine. Importantly, if you're a Brave Browser user, you'll be able to choose whether you use Brave Search or a different search engine of your choice.

Brave Search is not yet available to try, though the company has a wait-list on which people can register in order to be among the early access group.