Brave Search is an independent search engine that claims not to track its users and provides a safe and secure search experience.
It aims to be a privacy-friendly alternative to the extensive tech services from Microsoft and Google.
With a recent announcement, they introduced a new feature to Brave Search. The search will now show 'privacy-preserving' ads as part of a global beta program.
What does this mean? Allow me to explain.
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Privacy-Preserving Ads: Meaning?
Brave is planning to run ads on their search platform; they claim that these ads are anonymous, are marked, and follow its commitment of putting users first.
These ads are said to be clearly labeled and are integrated into Brave Search.
To display relevant advertisements, Brave Search will only use your search query, country, and device type.
So, in theory, this should stop them from keeping a profile of your searches.
They also add that:
Brave Search ads protect users’ data and anonymity, while supporting their access to independent and transparent search as a true alternative to Big Tech search engines.
This has been released as a beta test globally, where Brave Search users will be shown text-based ads in search results.
Users who opted for Brave Private Ads (for Brave Rewards) and are using the latest version of Brave won't be shown search ads since these are not yet eligible for BAT earnings.
Additionally, they offer a 'Search Premium' subscription for an ad-free search experience, which costs $3 per month.
With this subscription, you get a completely ad-free search experience while also supporting Brave.
Is This a Step in the Right Direction?
Even though Brave Search is based on an open-source search project Tailcat, they have no plans to make it open-source.
So, Brave Search already has a red flag 🚩 for many privacy enthusiasts who prefer open-source solutions for their transparency.
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Will privacy-preserving ads make a difference, just like Brave Search's original claims for its search engine?
Well, I certainly hope so. Why? Because we need more competitors to Google. And something is better than nothing.
Even without open-source code, we will have to sit back and see what kind of transparency they provide in their advertisement testing soon.
Though, the implementation of Brave's privacy-preserving ads has got a few users upset.
A comment made by a Reddit user on the official Subreddit of Brave Browser mentions:
Putting in an exception for your own ads is in exceptionally bad taste. All the marketing fluff around "independent, private search" is not an excuse.
Brave Browser seems to be not blocking Brave search ads with its in-built ad-blocker (Brave Shields).
On that, a member of the Brave support team clarified:
Shields at this time does not block 1st part, non tracking ads by default anyway (with the exception of setting to Aggressive, I believe) so it's actually just following the standard we've already set.
So, you can block the Brave search ads with the privacy protection settings set to aggressive, I believe?
However, not everyone prefers the aggressive blocker. So, let us see how things turn out for Brave search ad experimentation.
💭 Thoughts? Feel free to share them in the comments section.