Brave Search, a new search engine by the makers of Brave Browser, is now available publicly. Brave revealed some time ago that it was working on an independent search engine that would make use of its own index and not be dependent on Google, Bing or other search engines.
A private beta launched some time ago and today marks the end of that private beta period. Anyone may open Brave Search to use the search engine It is a beta product right now, but should work fine in many cases.
To better understand what Brave Search offers, one has to go back to March 2021. Brave announced that it acquired Tailcat, an open search engine developed by “by the team formerly responsible for the privacy search and browser products at Cliqz.
Tailcat uses its own independent index, and that sets its apart from third-party solutions such as DuckDuckGo or Startpage, which rely on the products of Big Tech companies such as Bing or Google.
Brave promises that its Search engine will provide users with quality results, but without compromising user security. The search engine does not record user IP addresses or will use personally identifiable information to change the search results.
Brave Search is developed using the same principles as the Brave browser:
- Private: does not track or profile users.
- User-First: Users come first, not advertising or data industries.
- Choice: Private ads will come to search, similarly to how they are handled in Brave Browser. An ad-free paid search option will also become available.
- Independent: Brave Search will use anonymized contributions to improve and refine Brave Search.
- Transparent: Secret methods or algorithms won’t be used to bias results.
- Seamless: integration with the Brave Browser.
- Open: Other search engines may use Brave Search.
Brave Search works like other search engines when you open it. You may type a search query, get suggestions, and will get results once you start the search.
The search results page resembles that of other search engines as well. You find options to switch from the “all” results listing to images, news or videos, and may filter results by country, safe search or time.
One interesting feature of Brave Search is that it may fill the results using data from third-party search engines, if its own set of data is not sufficient.
Select the cogwheel icon on the search results page to display the number of results that come from Brave’s own index (in percent).
Another interesting feature of Brave Search is the option to set a location manually. Brave uses what it calls anonymous local results by default where necessary. Some queries work only if the location is known, e.g. when you search for restaurants near me, a location needs to be known as results would not make sense otherwise. Brave uses the IP but won’t share it or store it.
You can turn this off in the settings or set a location manually that you want to be used as your location.
Still in the settings, you may disable the collection of anonymous usage metrics, and Google fallback mixing. The latter won’t mix Google results in the search results if Brave’s own index fails to deliver enough results on its own.
Brave Search uses an anonymous cookie to save preferences (when you make changes in the settings). A help page provides details on that.
Brave Search has no ads currently. Search results are displayed in blocks, and each block is clearly distinguishable from one another.
Some queries may display an option to display local results only, others may display widgets, e.g. the chart of a stock.
Brave Search is a beta product. I had the chance to use the search engine for several weeks on one device, and found it to return good results often. The fact that Brave maintains its own index is a plus, as it has full control over the results and since Brave claims that it will provide search results that are not biased, may soon become a go-to search engine for users who prefer that approach.
The Brave approach is interesting, especially since it may establish another source of revenue for the company in the long run. Not everyone is ready to pay for an ad-free search engine, but if you’d get unfiltered and unbiased results, it could certainly attract some users who are fed up with how the major search engines are run (especially in regards to bias and advertising).
Now You: have you tried Brave Search?