Today Brave announced the acquisition of Tailcat, the open search engine developed by the team formerly responsible for the privacy search and browser products at Cliqz, a holding of Hubert Burda Media. Tailcat will become the foundation of Brave Search. Brave Search and the Brave browser constitute the industry’s first independent, privacy-preserving alternative to Google Chrome and Google Search, which rely on tracking users across sites and have 70 percent and 92 percent market share, respectively.
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. Tailcat does not collect IP addresses or use personally identifiable information to improve search results.
Brave Search will join the family of privacy-preserving Brave products as consumers are increasingly demanding user-first alternatives to Big Tech. The Brave browser saw unprecedented growth in 2021, reaching over 25 million monthly active users. This mirrored the impressive migration to Signal, the privacy messaging platform, after WhatsApp announced a change to their privacy policies requiring data-sharing with Facebook.
Privacy is becoming mainstream. The Brave browser provides the stringent protections users demand, and Brave Search is being developed according to the same principles:
- Brave Search is private: it does not track or profile users.
- Brave Search is user-first: Brave serves the user first, not the advertising and data industries.
- Brave Search offers choice: We will provide options for ad-free paid search and ad-supported search. We are working on bringing private ads to search, as we’ve done for Brave user ads.
- Brave Search is independent: We will rely on anonymized contributions from the community to improve and refine Brave Search. Prior to this innovation, producing quality results could be achieved only by Big Tech companies, which took many years and tens of billions of dollars to crawl the entire Web continually.
- Brave Search is transparent: we will not use secret methods or algorithms to bias results. We will explore multiple community-curated open ranking models to ensure diversity, and prevent algorithmic biases and outright censorship.
- Brave Search is seamless: we will offer best-in-class integration between the browser and search without compromising privacy, from personalization to instant results as the user types.
- Brave Search is open: we do not believe in walled gardens and, as such, we will offer Brave Search to power other search engines.
With Brave Search, users can choose a default search engine that works seamlessly with the Brave browser to provide a complete privacy-respecting experience. Brave will also explore blockchain-based options and new developments, including for e-commerce uses.
“Brave has grown significantly over the past year, from 11 million monthly active users to over 25 million. 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,” said Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave Software. “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.”
“We are very happy that our technology is being used at Brave and that, as a result, a genuine, privacy-friendly alternative to Google is being created in the core web functions of browsing and searching,” added Paul-Bernhard Kallen, CEO of Hubert Burda Media. “As a Brave stakeholder we will continue to be involved in this exciting project.”
“The only way to counter Big Tech with its bad habit of collecting personal data is to develop a robust, independent, and privacy-preserving search engine that delivers the quality users have come to expect. People should not be forced to choose between privacy and quality,” said Dr. Josep M. Pujol, head of the Tailcat project. “The team is excited to be working on the only real private search/browser alternative to Big Tech available on the market.”
Brave already offers a privacy-preserving ad platform with Brave Ads, which has delivered nearly 3,000 private ad campaigns in 200 countries with major advertisers such as Verizon, The Home Depot, The New York Times, Progressive Insurance, Chipotle, PayPal, Amazon, Harry’s Razors, CBS, and KIND Snacks. Brave recently launched a privacy-preserving news reader, Brave Today, as well as a Firewall+VPN service, and is testing Brave Together, a privacy-preserving video-conferencing service. With the addition of privacy-preserving search, Brave is further expanding its browser into a super app to give users the control they deserve over their online experience.
Users interested in testing Brave Search can sign up via the waitlist at brave.com/search/.