For years, the topic of online privacy had seemed to be a thing of the past. People had accepted that we had no more privacy, and we were willing to give it up in order to use free services. However, over the last couple of years, it has come back to the foreground. People are interested in their privacy again, and willing to sacrifice those services that they had once considered important in order to protect it. One of the more active ways to accomplish this is a VPN service, but a common passive approach is a privacy-focused browser, like Brave.
Unfortunately, a major part of the internet experience today is focused on search. But, Google - the biggest search engine - is one of the biggest culprits in privacy issues. The data Google collects about individuals is sold time and again, making YOU the most profitable product that Google has. It's the basis for their entire advertising ecosystem. They have put on a good face about moving towards a more privacy-focused future, but no one is buying it.
That lack of trust in the future of Google's tracking system is why Brave is ditching Google as its default search engine. In its place will be the company's own Brave Search service. For other countries that have not had Google as the default, such as DuckDuckGo in Germany, the change will also be made in the near future. This will create a unified browser experience across all countries.
Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave, said in the announcement,
Brave Search has grown significantly since its release last June, with nearly 80 million queries per month. 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.
This change is available going forward, starting with Brave Desktop version 1.31, Brave Android version 1.31, and Brave iOS version 1.32 - all of which are available in the wild now. If you are interested in keeping the search engine as it is, that is still an option within the app.
The company has also launched a new Web Discovery Project (WDP), a tool to allow users to improve Brave Search while still maintaining their anonymity. The system is strictly opt-in, and is designed specifically to protect each user's privacy. The contributed data cannot be linked to individuals or devices, and therefore cannot be connected to create a user profile.
This comes at a time when Big Tech is a bad word for people on all sides of the political spectrum because of their constant reach into our lives and the power they have to alter the conversation around any important topic. Brave has been popular within a subset of users, and the search tool can serve as a natural next step in search technology.