Brave 'Privacy Browser' Ditches Google

John Lister's picture

A browser that promotes privacy as its key feature is ditching Google as its default search engine. Brave will instead use its own search service, though users are free to change back.

Although Brave is based on the same Chromium code as Google Chrome, it's marketed towards users worried about privacy. By default it blocks all third-party ads and tracking tools.

Until now, the browser has used well-known search engines as the default search tool. These include Google in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and DuckDuckGo in Germany.

However, Brave has been developing its own search engine. It now processes almost 80 million queries a month, which sounds like a large number until you compare it to Google, which analysts estimate handles around 150 billion queries a month.

Search May Not Be As Useful

Despite that comparison, Brave says it "has reached the quality and critical mass needed to become our default search option." It will now make it the default for new users. (Source:

It could become a test of how users are willing to balance privacy and performance in practice. At the moment the Brave Search tool is based on an "independent index" that doesn't collect data from users about their searches or which results they click on.

That may make it very difficult to produce as useful a search as the likes of Google which are constantly updated to take account of which results users opt for (and whether they quickly come back) to learn more about exactly what users are looking for when they search for a particular phrase.

Ads Coming To Results Page

As part of the switch, Brave is also starting the "Web Discovery Project", an opt-in in which users can choose to let it collect such data anonymously. The data will be combined for analysis, but not linked to any individual or device. (Source:

Another potentially controversial move from Brave is that it plans at some stage to ad its own advertising to search results pages, with an option to pay to remove ads. That could be a tricky sell to users and advertisers alike as, without personalized data, there's a good chance the ads will be less relevant to the specific user.

What's Your Opinion?

Which browser do you use? How much does privacy play in your decisions on browsers and search tools? Is privacy a price worth paying for more useful search results?

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Average: 4.9 (9 votes)


diddleyman666's picture


I use Brave and am generally pleased with it, especially the ad blocking, although it sometimes blocks sites I've visited before and know are safe, at which point I have to take the shields down for that site. There are other sites that give you a message that you are using an 'outdated browser', but that doesn't seem to stop anything from working.

Brave does have problems with some streaming sites like Netflix and Sling, which don't seem to work with it at all. Thing this has to be worked on, although I don't visit those sites often.

I use Duckduck Go as my default search engine, so probably will not change unless I hear great things about the Brave search. I am concerned that a service that blocks ads is considering adding them and instituting a pay system.

Brave actually does have some way to somehow contribute to their operation now, but I have yet to figure out how it works- something to do with watching ads and points? Who knows? . They didn't make it very intuitive and it's not worth the time to figure it out. If they simplified this maybe they wouldn't have to consider ads.

I also use other Browsers; Chrome ( it is sometimes necessary ), Vivaldi and Opera and am going to try out the new Firefox, Best to have options.

buzzallnight's picture


I use Brave and it is my default now, I don't use IE 11 much anymore.
I like the ad blocking because it makes the browser run noticeably faster
even though it does block some streaming sites.
There is probably a way to fix that but I just pop open Chrome.

I think I just switched to brave at the right time
because the feature I like best about it is probably in Chrome also,
you can set it up to open multiple websites with one click.

Another thing I have liked about Brave is they don't eff with it all the time
like most of the other browsers, although maybe that is going to change now....

Ever since the dawn of smart phones the hyper active attention deficit crowd
has taken over everything.
"It looks old" is something never heard before that time
unless you were looking at a DOS prompt.
I hear M$ is going to get the Nobel Peace Prize
for putting rounded corners on their software
even though it is still full of bugs...

You just can't beat Google as a search engine
I use it for a spell checker/dictionary
and I miss spell a lot of stuff
and Google doesn't even notice or care
it just corrects it on the fly.

I don't care about tracking,
Charter/Spectrum lists me as being in a city 20 miles away for some reason
and I never use my real name online anyway
so enjoy your false data fools :)

I also use M$ Chredge and
Chrome (sometimes nothing else will work),
and I am going to try out Firefox,
you need to have several options because of how flaky everything is.

beach.boui's picture

I use many search engines, including Brave. Brave has some maturing to do before it moves to the top of my list. Tops on my list are DDG, Whoogle and StartPage. Been trying out Mojeek, but it, too, needs maturing.

I don't believe Brave's paid subscription model will succeed.

OadbyPC's picture

Since hearing DDG was sold, I've been using Startpage which basically searches Google from it's own servers, meaning Google doesn't see your IP address etc. So all the benefits of the world's best search engine without the privacy concerns :)

Browsers: still wish someone with influence (?Dennis) would start a campaign to convince MS to switch Edge to Firefox instead of Chrome :(

bates.paul_15485's picture

I use brave on W10 and all the privacy settings in the middle... on but not at the highest level that might break sites. It gives its nice status report on blocking, MBs and time saved, eg its doing is job.

What I notice is little-to-no brave blocking on google sites.. gmail, calendar, google messages web client, google docs. When I back-stop brave with the chromium adaware extension, and use some of their additional lists, adaware blocks numerous ads/trackers on google sites. No impact to the operation of any site.

It pics up a handful after brave on other sites, but nowhere near to level of google

Curious why that is... ?

I ran across a story on XDA saying that there was suspicion that google was "blocking blockers" in the new chromium APIs... hmmm