Brave, the privacy-focused browser that blocks third-party ads and trackers by default, defaults to its own search engine, the company said. The change will be applied to new users and will affect the search engine used through the browser’s address bar. Brave Search will replace Google in the US, UK and Canada, Qwant in France and DuckDuckGo in Germany. Other countries will be switched in the coming months.
This is a big milestone for Brave’s fledgling search engine, which launched in public beta earlier this year, as most people only take what they’re given. Having the search engine set as the browser’s default setting is a valuable promotional tactic, and so important that the practice has become an important part of antitrust review. In Europe, Google now offers a choice of search engines for Android users after being fined $ 5 billion by EU regulators for, among other things, illegally linking Google search to Android . Over the years, Google has also paid companies like Apple and Firefox to be the default search engine in their browsers.
“As we know from experience in many browsers, the default setting is crucial for adoption, and Brave Search has achieved the quality and critical mass necessary to become our default search option, and to deliver to our users a seamless online experience of privacy by default, “Brave co-founder and CEO Brendan Eich said in a statement. He added that his search engine now handles” nearly 80 million queries per month. ”
While the change will boost Brave Search’s awareness among Brave users, the browser’s market share is so small that it doesn’t even register against established competitors like Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Opera, the data shows. by StatCounter. Nonetheless, as of September 2021, Brave claims that its browser had nearly 40 million monthly active users.
In addition to boosting awareness of Brave’s search engine, the move is a sign of its confidence in the new privacy-focused service. Brave Search is notable for being built on Brave’s independent web index, with many competitors relying on a mix of larger index results like Microsoft’s Bing (although Brave said it would pull results other suppliers where it cannot produce enough of its own). The company claims that its search engine does not track “users, their searches, or their clicks.”
Along with the change to the default search engine, Brave is also launching a new opt-in system for users to contribute their data and help improve their search results. Brave claims that its Web Discovery Project collects search and browsing data in a way that cannot be linked to individual users, and that cannot be sold to advertisers or turned over to authorities.
Brave Search is currently free and does not serve any ads, but the company has said it plans to roll out ads in its free version in the future, as well as launch a premium ad-free service.