As part of its ongoing push to eliminate Google as much as possible from our daily web experiences, Brave is removing Google Search as its default search engine. Going forward, the Brave web browser will default to Brave Search.
“Brave Search has grown significantly since its release last June, with nearly 80 million queries per month,” Brave CEO and co-founder Brendan Eich says. “Our users are pleased with the comprehensive privacy solution that Brave Search provides against Big Tech by being integrated into our browser. As we know from experience in many browsers, the default setting is crucial for adoption, and Brave Search has reached the quality and critical mass needed to become our default search option, and to offer our users a seamless privacy-by-default online experience.”
Brave Search is built on top of an independent index, and doesn’t track users, their searches, or their clicks, the firm says. And starting with Brave 1.3 on desktop and Android, and Brave 1.32 on iOS, it will be the default search engine in the browser, instead of Google, in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It is also replacing Qwant in France and DuckDuckGo in Germany, and Brave says that more locales will be added in the next several months. Existing users can keep their chosen search engine default, of course, and new users who prefer other search engines can configure as needed.
Brave Search doesn’t display ads today, but the free version of the service will soon be ad-supported. An ad-free Premium version is coming “in the near future,” Brave says.
Brave also announced the Web Discovery Project (WDP), which it describes as a privacy-preserving system for users to anonymously contribute data to improve Brave Search results, and as an independent alternative to Big Tech search solutions. The WDP is an opt-in feature that protects user privacy and anonymity by ensuring that contributed data is not linked to individuals, their devices, or any set of users.
“The WDP represents a fundamental shift in how a search index is built to serve relevant results for users,” Brave explains. “Big Tech search providers collect data from users without asking or notifying users, to continuously grow their indexes—the list of billions of web pages they draw from to deliver results—and to ensure results are relevant and never stale. This data can be, and often is, associated with users personally by an identifier or linkable records.”
With the WDP, it is impossible to build profiles or sessions of its contributors, and that means that there is data for Brave to sell to advertisers, lose to theft or hacking, or hand over to government agencies. You can learn more about the WDP on Brave’s GitHub repo.
And you can learn more about Brave, and download its browser, from Brave.com.