back to article Brave buys a search engine, promises no tracking, no profiling – and may even offer a paid-for, no-ad version

Brave, maker of the identically named privacy-focused web browser, has acquired its own search engine to offer as an alternative to Google Search and competing search engines that exist but aren't all that visible in Google's shadow. On Wednesday, the company plans to announce that it's taking over Tailcat, a search engine …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free-paid schizophrenia

    As far as I heard, having a paid tier parallel to an ad-subsidized free tier is essentially shooting yourself in the foot. If the paid tier gains any traction, it kills the ad revenue without being as profitable...

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Free-paid schizophrenia

      That's their problem. They have the information and can decide how much they should charge to get the business of people willing to pay to avoid the ads. If they make the paid service cheap such that they would have made more with the ads, that's their choice and they could always have increased the price. Given they already have this strange system of paying people to view ads with a mostly worthless cryptocurrency without typical cryptocurrency controls, they probably know quite a bit about how much money ads bring in and how much they can expect individual users to interact with them.

  2. PTW

    I disagree with the article

    Google, and Google proxy searches have been appalling for at least 4 years regarding "long tail searches", whatever the fuck they are? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Maybe I need to get some sort of SEO training? [I can't use the joke icon 'cos the rest is serious]

    All too often I find I need to use Bing to find those hidden nuggets i.e anything that's not *crap* du jour YMMV

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: I disagree with the article

      Try DuckDuckGo. I believe their searches are largely based on Bing, and I rarely need to use anything else.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: I disagree with the article

        Upvoted, Hubert, but I've had the opposite experience recently. To get a reasonable search result fir some terms, I've had to go to Google - DDG just wasn't doing the job.

        1. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: I disagree with the article

          Annoyingly, I've had a similar experience of late with Bing.

          Granted I've been doing a lot of rather specific searching for old spec sheets which have been dropped from the manufacturer's website but are often still lurking on the sites of dealers and distributors.

          Entering the document number (every sheet has a unique reference in the footer) plus ".pdf" frequently returns zero hits in Bing but a plethora of results on Google. DDG seems to sit somewhere in the middle.

          Maybe Bing just sucks at indexing document text.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: I disagree with the article

        I switched to DuckDuckGo a couple of years back and it is my main search engine.

        Very occasionally, I will switch to Google, because DDG doesn't find what I want. But Google's quality has also sunk over recent years, one of the reasons, next to privacy, that I switched.

        Google results for "handbook/problem <device>" would list about 30+ eRetail platforms, special offers and search comparison sites, I'd have to go to the 2nd or 3rd page, before I'd find a relevant link. DDG is a bit better in this respect. I mean, if I am searching for a handbook or information on problems with a product, the chances are I've already bought it, and in the latter case, I am definitely not in the mood to buy it again, if it is causing me problems!

        Such results are a disservice to users and a con for advertisers! Google knows, from the way the query is formatted, that the searcher has no interest in purchasing said product, yet it wastes advertisers money by trying to show me ads and paid results that it knows are irrelevant...

        1. Boothy Silver badge

          Re: I disagree with the article

          Similar experiences here as well, I use DDG by default, switching to other sites if needed.

          In general, if I'm searching for a product name, what I'm looking for tends to be resolving an issue, trying to find a specification, or tying to find an independent review.

          Instead Google floods me with retailers and special offers, which 99% of the time I have no interest in, and often aren't even for the product I was searching for! If I'm actually buying something, I'll generally go directly to a retailer, one I've used before and know (or at least hope) I'll get good service from.

          The one thing I'd say with DDG, whilst good for most things, it seems quite poor for some specific types of searches, such as error messages. As an example, searching for a specific error message (log files, application errors etc), where an exact match for the entire phrase is needed. Often DDG will have nothing at all relevant in the results to the search that was run, whereas Google finds several exact matches for the same search.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: I disagree with the article

          DDG nearly always works well for me. There's no need to actually use the Google site if you like DDG but aren't getting the results you need - just adding "!g" to your query will tell DDG to anonymously query Google's index.

      3. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: I disagree with the article

        I am using DuckDuckGo too. It is surprisingly good.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: I disagree with the article

      I really wish the original Ask Jeeves search engine was still about, where you could ask questions and get results that way.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Stopped trying in Google or Bing

      I use Qwant and DDG for various years. During the first months, if I couldn't find something, I tried Google or Bing and then couldn't find it there neither. I just stopped trying Google or Bing.

      1. gobaskof Silver badge

        Re: Stopped trying in Google or Bing

        Another DuckDuckGo weirdo here. I find that less and less frequently do I need to also check Google. DuckDuckGo used to never have good non-American options, not it is Google that strugles with country specific things in my recent experience. The biggest reason to go to Google is to for exact matches. DuckDuckGo can do exact matches, but it appears less good at them, and lest good a highlighting the exact matched section in the search results.

  3. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Joke

    They should keep the name Tailcat

    It's awesome. Who wouldn't want to use a search engine called Tailcat?

    Now where's the "I have nine cats and I am very proud of this fact" icon?

    1. big_D Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: They should keep the name Tailcat

      Yes, but renamed to Brave Search, it has the opportunity to also appeal to dog lovers and become the dog's b's (UK slang).

  4. tekHedd

    Guaranteed ad delivery?

    Looks like the real feature is that you can't block ads, because it's integrated with the Brave browser.

    Call me when the paid ad-free version ships. I get a feeling it won't actually happen.

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: Guaranteed ad delivery?

      DuckDuckGo + Firefox + uBlock Origin = win (but not for DDG themselves, obviously).

      1. Getmo

        Re: Guaranteed ad delivery?

        I believe DDG also inserts their Amazon affiliate link in their search results. So if you want to support them, search for your Amazon purchases with DDG then buy.

  5. NonSSL-Login

    Results

    If it gives good search results, i'm there!

    I use DuckDuckGo as my main search engine but have to use Google occasionally when DDG fails me. As much as I hate to admit it, Google still gives the best search results most of the time. If DDG just gets optimised more then I will never have to use the evil Google again but for now, its an occasional necessary evil.

    Bing I was never keen on but do love its birds eye view maps which is so much better than Googles satellite view, so that is my current map search engine.

    I use Brave Browser (Even if my User Agent might say something different....) and happy to support them if the cost is small and reasonable.

    Ease of switching and good results to keep those that switched is key for success here!

    1. logicalextreme Silver badge

      Re: Results

      I try to use DDG as my primary sometimes, but for me it often lets me down on those searches that you do where you know exactly what page you're after but don't have the URL bookmarked or can't be bothered finding it. I've got to the point where I'm typing long, specific strings of qualifiers (including the domain!) to try to get to e.g. the UK version of a website, and when it still doesn't show up in the first twenty-odd results of DDG I hit Google and find it with a single word.

      When enough of that kind of thing happens in one day, I revert to Google and it can take me weeks to remember to try using DDG again. I like them, and I want to use them, but I can't justify hanging around when the search engine isn't finding what I'm searching for. Obviously their search capabilities aren't going to be as impressive as Google's, but it's pretty annoying (I like everything else about them, like the fact that they don't blithely ignore quotes and mutate your search string with no way of overriding).

    2. rcxb Silver badge

      Re: Results

      As much as I hate to admit it, Google still gives the best search results most of the time.

      I get BETTER results from DDG most of the time.

      I often try google when a ddg search doesn't turn up what I want, and either google: A) Only turns up some spam pages that ddg did not, or B) Ignores some of my search terms, and inundates me with irrelevant nonsense.

      Only two thing I can think of that Google does betters. 1) Searching for EXACT file names and 1) More aggressively guessing you might have meant to search for popular term X instead of the correctly spelled but less popular word Y.

      Having said that, the first example I thought up off-the-cuff shows the opposite in reality... A search for "googol" on DDG guesses you might want "Google", while the same search on Google does NOT suggest a correction.

    3. Tim99 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Results

      I use DDG, and can't remember the last time I used Google directly. DDG supports bangs! which are reasonably anonymous: e.g. searchtext !g does a Google search; searchtext !w a Wikipedia search. There are thousands of others...

  6. doublelayer Silver badge

    Clear, conscious biases, definitely

    "There will be Goggles created by creationists, anti-vaccination supporters or flat-earthers," the paper says. "However, the biases will be explicit, and therefore, the choice is a conscious one."

    Right. Hands up who believes that?

    If anyone ever goes into this system and deliberately turns on these things, which I doubt, then there will indeed be groups setting them up to include information they believe in. They will be dishonest about it. The antivaccination goggle won't be called "Antivaccination information". It will be called something like "Reliable research" with a description stating that it removes articles published in pseudoscientific journals which produce papers upon the request of big companies and instead only includes scientific information which has been reviewed by independent researchers or press coverage thereof. Simple research about what this actually does would show people what is really happening, just as brief research kills any number of crap theories that tons of people believe. The good news is that I don't think many people will ever turn these on.

  7. Blackjack Silver badge

    I don't trust it.

    Maybe I am not Brave enough?

    We know how Mozilla/Firefox makes money.

    We know how Duckduckgo makes money.

    But whatever is Brave business model? Can we really trust them with our data? They are a (not so) hostile takeover from selling it.

    1. logicalextreme Silver badge

      Re: I don't trust it.

      Adverts. It's always adverts. It's never not adverts.

      Maybe they're trustworthy for now, and eventually they'll just be another Google when they forget to not be evil. Having to switch search engines every 20 years wouldn't be that bad.

  8. Ganton Scum

    Stickin' it to the Mozilla man.

  9. Stanislav Bonita
    Mushroom

    Could there be a worse idea?

    Filter bubbles - showing people only the things that confirm their biases - have contributed to the mess the world is in today.

    You can call it Goggles if you want but it's the same thing.

    Icon is what Brave should do with Goggles -->

  10. idiot taxpayer here again

    If it is

    free, you are the product. How many times do people have to be told that?

    And no-one is going to pay for something they can get for "free".

    Deal with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If it is

      But sometimes even when it's not free, you are just a cow that produces two kinds of milk

  11. sreynolds

    Meh, I give it three months...

    Three months before the new search engine starts offering paid for searches in the top three results.

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