Brave, the company most widely known for its eponymous privacy-focused browser, has announced that it will replace Google and other search engines with its own Brave Search as the default search engine for new users.
“Starting today, new Brave users will have the search functionality in the Brave browser powered by Brave Search, giving them the privacy and independence of a search/browser alternative to Big Tech. Brave Search is built on top of an independent index, and doesn’t track users, their searches, or their clicks,” Brave revealed in a blog post announcing the switch.
The first countries to make the change are the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, where Google will be replaced by Brave Search as the default search engine. Meanwhile, France will switch from Qwant, whereas Germany will have DuckDuckGo replaced. Brave promised that more countries will see similar changes in the upcoming months.
While existing Brave users will keep the search engines they’ve previously chosen as default, they can set up Brave Search as their default option manually. Most other major browsers should also support Brave’s search engine offering.
With the latest update of its browser across its desktop, iOS, and Android versions, Brave will automatically offer Brave Search as the default search option to new users. However, if they prefer, they can choose another search engine by navigating to the browser’s search engine settings.
There is one caveat, though: while at the moment Brave Search isn’t displaying ads, its free version should be ad-supported soon. An ad-free Premium version is in the works, however.
The company launched its search engine back in June as an alternative for more privacy-minded users. “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,” Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave, was quoted as saying.
To enhance the coverage and quality of Brave Search, its maker also launched the Web Discovery Project (WDP), which allows users to pitch in and improve the search engine by anonymously contributing data. Users who decide to use the feature and partake in the process will have their privacy and anonymity protected; any data they provide can’t be linked to individuals or their devices, nor can it be linked together for a user or set of users.
“The system contributes anonymous search and browsing data made within the Brave browser from users who have opted in. This data helps build the Brave Search independent index, and ensures Brave Search shows results relevant to search queries,” the company said.