Brave, a privacy-focused chromium-based browser, is planning to launch its own search engine. The browser, co-founded by Mozilla’s former CEO Brendan Eich, started out as an alternative browser focused on reshaping the ad-funded internet business, but now promotes itself as a privacy-focused tech company that aims to fix the internet.
On March 3, Brave announced it acquired an open-source search engine developed by Cliqz, an anti-tracking browser and search engine that went offline last April after its main investor, Hubert Burda Media, gave up on the venture. Brave will use Cliqz technology to launch a “big tech-free” search engine in the coming months.
The development team at Cliqz continued working in a fully-fledged search engine called Tailcat. As part of the acquisition, the development team will move to Brave.
“Under the hood, nearly all of today’s search engines are either built by, or rely on, results from Big Tech companies. 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,” the company wrote in a press release announcing the acquisition.
“Tailcat does not collect IP addresses or use personally identifiable information to improve search results,” the press release adds.
“Tailcat is a fully independent search engine with its own search index built from scratch,” Brave’s CEO Brendan Eich said, speaking to TechCrunch.
“Tailcat as Brave Search will offer the same privacy guarantees that Brave has in its browser,” Eich added. “Brave will provide the first private browser+search alternative to the Big Tech platforms, and will make it seamless for users to browse and search with guaranteed privacy. Also, owing to its transparent nature, Brave Search will address algorithmic biases and prevent outright censorship.”
According to Eich, Brave moving into the search business highlights how privacy is becoming mainstream. He noted the “unprecedented” growth in the usage of the browser from 11 million monthly active users (MUAs) to over 26 million in the past year.
“We expect to see even greater demand for Brave in 2021 as more and more users demand real privacy solutions to escape Big Tech’s invasive practices,” Eich added. “Brave’s mission is to put the user first, and integrating privacy-preserving search into our platform is a necessary step to ensure that user privacy is not plundered to fuel the surveillance economy.”
Brave search will launch in late spring or summer. The browser will maintain its “open search,” allowing users to choose their preferred search engine.