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Brave acquires search engine in bid to offer alternative to Google Search

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Major privacy-focused browser Brave is inching closer to offering a private search engine. 

Brave announced Wednesday that the company has acquired Tailcat, an open search engine developed by a group formerly working on privacy search and browser products at Cliqz. Operating under the majority holding of Hubert Burda Media, Cliqz terminated its efforts on browser and search tech in May 2020.

According to the announcement, Tailcat will serve as a foundation for the upcoming Brave Search — an inbuilt search engine designed to enable private and transparent web surfing.

Brave CEO and co-founder Brendan Eich told Cointelegraph that the firm expects to introduce Brave Search by summer 2021. “Brave is now working on integrating this technology and making it available to all as Brave Search, first via early access for testers, and then for general availability by this summer,” Eich said.

Brave browser currently relies on major external search engines, offering users the choice between popular search engines like privacy-mindful DuckDuckGo and Startpage, as well as mainstream tools like Google Search. According to Brave, “nearly all of today’s search engines are either built by, or rely on, results from Big Tech companies.”

In contrast, Tailcat is built on top of a completely independent index and does not collect IP addresses or personal data to improve search results. Eich stated that Tailcat developers have been working on privacy-preserving search “the last seven years, while at Cliqz, and then on the Tailcat project after the Cliqz closure.”

The new announcement comes shortly after Brave recorded a major milestone in its browser adoption, doubling its active user base from 11 million monthly users to over 26 million. In late February, Brave released its “BAT Roadmap 2.0,” announcing the company’s plans to explore the utility of its Basic Attention Token (BAT) for search engines. As part of the roadmap, the firm is also working on a DEX aggregator and NFT functionality.

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