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Brave Search screen
Brave Search is available in beta release globally on all Brave browsers (desktop, Android, and iOS) as one of the search options alongside other search engines, and will become the default search in the Brave browser later this year. It is also available from any other browser at search.brave.com.
Brave Search was announced this past March when Brave acquired Tailcat, and since then there have been over 100,000 users who signed up for preview access and testing. Brave recently passed 32 million monthly active users (up from 25 million last March), and Brave Search is the latest product offered by the company in its suite of privacy-preserving tools as millions of users are turning to alternatives to big tech. Brave already offers privacy-preserving Brave Ads, Brave News, and a Firewall+VPN service.
Brave Search is different from other search engines because it uses its own index and follows different principles:
Privacy: no tracking or profiling of users.
User-first: the user comes first, not the advertising and data industries.
Independence: Brave has its own search index for answering common queries privately without reliance on other providers.
Choice: soon, options for ad-free paid search and ad-supported search.
Transparency: no secret methods or algorithms to bias results, and soon, community-curated open ranking models to ensure diversity and prevent algorithmic biases and outright censorship.
Seamlessness: best-in-class integration between the browser and search without compromising privacy, from personalization to instant results as the user types.
Openness: Brave Search will soon be available to power other search engines.
& #38; #8220; Brave Search is the industry& #38; #8217; s most private search engine, as well as the only independent search engine, giving users the control and confidence they seek in alternatives to big tech,& #38; #8221; said Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave. & #38; #8220; Unlike older search engines that track and profile users, and newer search engines that are mostly a skin on older engines and don& #38; #8217; t have their own indexes, Brave Search offers a new way to get relevant results with a community-powered index, while guaranteeing privacy. Brave Search fills a clear void in the market today as millions of people have lost trust in the surveillance economy and actively seek solutions to be in control of their data.& #38; #8221;
Brave Search uses its own index, but also ensures fully anonymous search, is transparent in how search results are ranked, and integrates with a privacy-preserving browser on desktop and mobile & #38; #8211; an across-the-board combination of independence and privacy which no other provider offers. For a detailed comparison of Brave Search versus other search engines, please see our side-by-side chart here.
Brave Search is also introducing the industry& #38; #8217; s first search independence metric, displaying the ratio of results coming exclusively from Brave& #38; #8217; s index. It is derived privately using the user& #38; #8217; s browser as we do not build user profiles. Users can check this aggregate metric to verify the independence of their results and see how results are powered by our own index, or if third-parties are being used for long tail results while we are still in the process of building our index. For instance, Brave Search will typically be answering most queries, reflected by a high independence metric. However for some features, like searching for images, Brave Search will fetch results from Microsoft Bing. While this will not result in any tracking of the users, it will be reducing the independence metric.
As mentioned above, transparency is a key principle at Brave, and there will also be a global independence metric for Brave Search across all searches, which we will make publicly available to show how we are progressing towards complete independence.
Brave Search Independence Metric
In order to present a true independent alternative to big tech, Brave decided to build its own index rather than rent it from Google or Microsoft, as other smaller search engines are currently doing. Brave Search includes anonymized contributions from the community to improve and refine results. However, there are types of queries, as well as certain areas such as image search, for which our results are not relevant enough yet, and in those cases we are using APIs until we are able to expand our index. The Brave Search independence metric is a progress bar, and our goal is to achieve greater independence and better quality without compromising the privacy of our users.
Brave Search is not displaying ads during this early part of the beta phase, but we will offer options for both ad-free paid search and ad-supported free search later. When we are ready, we will explore bringing private ads with BAT revenue share to search, as we& #38; #8217; ve done for Brave user ads.
What is Brave Search?
Brave Search is the world& #38; #8217; s most complete, independent, private search engine. By integrating Brave Search into its browser, Brave offers the first all-in-one browser / search alternative to the big tech platforms. Brave Search is available as the default search engine in Brave or most other major browsers, or via search.brave.com.
How do I use Brave Search, or set it as default?
For some Brave users who downloaded the Brave browser on October 19, 2021 or later, Brave Search will be automatically set as the default search engine. Simply conduct a search in the address bar of any Brave browser tab. Learn more.
All other users can set Brave Search as the default search engine in Brave or most other major browsers, and then search from the address bar of any browser tab. To check the default search engine in the Brave Browser, open the settings page at brave://settings/search.
You can also use Brave Search by visiting search.brave.com from any browser.
Do I have to use Brave Search if I use the Brave browser?
No. You can still use other search engines in the Brave browser. To do so, either visit the web address of that search engine (like google.com), or set another engine as the default in the Brave browser.
Can I use Brave Search in browsers other than Brave?
Yes. We do not believe in walled gardens, so you can set Brave Search as the default search engine in most major browsers. Or visit search.brave.com.
In the future, we also plan to offer API access to Brave Search so it can power other search engines.
How can I change the default language for search results?
Brave Search is available in US and UK English, as well as French, German, and Japanese. We& #38; #8217; ll be adding support for more languages soon, so check back often to see when private, independent search is available in your language.
Note that if you live in the US, UK, France, or Germany and you downloaded the Brave Browser on October 19, 2021 or later, Brave Search may already be the default search engine. You can change the default search engine for the Brave Browser, or change the default language for Brave Search at any time.
What does it mean for Brave Search to be in & #38; #8220; beta& #38; #8221; ?
In many regions, Brave Search already has a level of quality that competes with other established search engines like Google and Bing. However, we owe it to our users to hold ourselves to the highest standards. We& #38; #8217; ve kept the & #38; #8220; beta& #38; #8221; tag to denote that we& #38; #8217; re not done improving, and that we& #38; #8217; re constantly pushing to provide the highest level of quality in more regions, for more types of results, and to build the ultimate private searching experience.
Rome, as they say, wasn& #38; #8217; t built in a day& #38; #8212; a truly independent alternative to Google and Bing won& #38; #8217; t be either. But, with your help, it will happen.
Note that initiatives like the Web Discovery Project and short-term tools like fallback mixing will help us achieve our goal that much sooner. But the most important thing you can do to defeat Big Tech is use Brave Search, set it as default for all your queries, and to tell us how we can improve. We listen to all feedback we receive, and incorporate suggestions directly into our product roadmap. Use the feedback icon on any results page to submit feedback and suggestions.
Will I see ads in Brave Search? Do these ads work with Brave Rewards?
Brave Search is ad supported and, unlike other search providers, our ads adhere to the principle of privacy-first. Ultimately, our vision is to expand the Brave Ads ecosystem to include search ads that reward users for viewing them. But this is still a work in progress; for now, Brave Search ads are not eligible for Brave Rewards. We hope to have more news on this in the coming months.
Users who want to support the Brave Search mission, and get an ad-free experience, can upgrade to Brave Search Premium.
How is Brave Search different? What does & #38; #8220; independent& #38; #8221; mean?
First, and most important, Brave Search adheres to core principles of privacy. We don& #38; #8217; t track you, your searches, or your clicks. Ever. This is far different from the vast majority of search providers, who siphon up every piece of data about your search behavior, and tie it directly to you.
Second, Brave Search operates from an independent search index. An index is the list of billions of web pages, and some basic info about those pages, that search engines draw from to deliver search results. Most search engines& #38; #8212; even supposedly & #38; #8220; neutral& #38; #8221; or & #38; #8220; private& #38; #8221; ones& #38; #8212; don& #38; #8217; t do this. They& #38; #8217; re just fa& #38; #231; ades that rely exclusively on third-parties for their results. If Big Tech suddenly ceased to function, those other search operators would go offline. Brave Search, meanwhile, would stay fully operational.
Independence means choice: for users& #38; #8212; and for Brave& #38; #8212; to be safer online, and not be beholden to the privacy invasions, censorship, biases, or economic interests of Big Tech.
Note that Brave Search is based on an independent index. However, for some queries, Brave can anonymously check our search results against third-party results, and mix them on the results page. This mixing is a means-to-an-end toward 100% independence. For full transparency and to measure Brave& #38; #8217; s progress toward that goal, Brave provides a & #38; #8220; Results independence& #38; #8221; metric. This anonymous calculation shows the % of search results that come from Brave versus these third parties. Note that no matter the independence metric, your privacy will always be 100%.
Does Brave Search filter, downrank, or censor search results?
No, Brave Search does not filter, downrank, or censor search results. Nor will we change our search algorithm to increase or decrease the prominence of results in response to current events or anyone& #38; #8217; s political, religious, ethical, or other beliefs. Brave Search& #38; #8212; like Brave itself& #38; #8212; is intended to be a user-first portal to the web, free of Big Tech& #38; #8217; s manipulation.
However, there is one exception to this rule: We do need to comply with laws governing search engines, including CSAM, copyright takedown (DMCA), right to be forgotten (GDPR), and nation-state orders.
A few additional notes:
For a small percentage of queries where we don& #38; #8217; t have good results, we& #38; #8217; ll check Bing for server-side fallback mixing.
If you& #38; #8217; ve chosen to enable it, we can also check Google for fallback mixing in your browser.
We rely on Bing for most image and video results.
For each of the cases above, if the results are censored, filtered, or re-ranked at the source, those changes would also pass through to our results. You can easily see how often these third-party results are mixed (via our independence score), and our aim is to gradually reduce this mixing over time.
What are Goggles, and how will they help limit search censorship?
Goggles are an in-the-works feature, coming soon to Brave Search. In short, Goggles will enable anyone, or any community of people, to create sets of rules and filters to constrain the searchable space and / or alter the ordering of results. Anyone could then choose to apply a Goggle& #38; #8212; or extend it& #38; #8212; to their view of Brave Search results. Essentially, Goggles will act as a re-ranking option on top of the Brave Search index.
This means that, instead of a single ranking, Brave Search can offer an almost limitless number of ranking options. This would allow Brave Search to overcome the biases that search engines inherently embed in their results.
Read the full white paper about Goggles.
What& #38; #8217; s the Web Discovery Project, and how do I opt in?
The Web Discovery Project is a privacy-preserving way for you to contribute to the growth and independence of Brave Search. If you opt in, you& #38; #8217; ll contribute some anonymous data about searches and web page visits made within the Brave Browser (including pages arrived at via some, but not all, other search engines). This data helps build the Brave Search independent index, and ensure we show results relevant to your search queries. By & #38; #8220; data& #38; #8221; we mean search queries, search result clicks, the URLs of pages visited in the browser, time spent on those pages, and some metadata about the pages themselves. Learn more.
To opt in, open the Settings menu in the Brave browser. Select Search engine on the left panel, and then toggle on Web Discovery Project. You can opt out again at any time.