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Sneak Preview of Brave Search – A Challenger to Google

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Sneak Preview of Brave Search – A Challenger to Google

A new privacy-first search engine from Brave is currently in preview and testing mode. Their goal is to surpass Google by indexing more of the web, respecting user privacy and finding a way to give publishers proper content attribution. There are many reasons why Brave may succeed as a challenger to Google.

The People Behind Brave Search

Brave is a company that has created a privacy first browser called Brave. One of the founders of the company is the inventor of JavaScript and a co-founder of Mozilla while others are from Mozilla, Evernote and other top companies.

The approach to the web that Brave is taking is one that respects user privacy and also the publishers who create the content that search engines surface in search results.

Screenshot of a Brave Search SERP for Movie Cast

Brave Search for Movie Cast

This is Brave Search

Brave Search is a privacy first search engine. It currently does not show advertising.

Brave Search may show advertising in the future but in a manner that does not violate users privacy.

This is Brave’s statement:

“Brave Search does not track you, your searches, or your clicks; it’s impossible for Brave to disclose any information about you to anyone.

Any future ads we may support will be anonymized (like all other Brave ads), and will not influence ranking. In the future, we will also offer paid ad-free search.”

Screenshot of a Recipe Search in Brave Search Engine

Screenshot of Brave Search Recipe SERPs

Brave Search Ranking Algorithm

Brave appears to be using their own proprietary ranking algorithm. If a user wants to see search results from Google that they are accustomed to, there is a way to enable a “backfill” function in order to see a mix of Google’s search results.

Brave has published a statement affirming their commitment to showing unbiased search results and more variety.

This is their statement:

“Brave Search will not use secret methods or algorithms to bias or censor results. It will use anonymous community contributions to refine, and community-created alternative ranking models to ensure diversity.”

Brave Search Stock SERPs

Brave Search Stock Price SERPs

Brave Search and Publisher Content Attribution

One of the most bitter (and disputed) criticisms against Google is that Google is willing to use web content without sending traffic back to those who created the traffic.

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This can be an issue with some featured snippets where it’s possible that a certain amount of users find their answers in the snippet and don’t click through to the website that created the content.

The makers of the Brave search engine are aware of this issue and have published a statement about it.

“Please know that Brave respects content attribution, and we are aware that good snippets may lead to traffic deprivation (i.e. less click-through) to the sites providing the content.

We need to weigh this against user expectations of having used other search engines that provide information this way—omitting featured snippets would be detrimental to the user experience.

We are conflicted about this issue of traffic loss, and hope to devise a Brave solution to this conundrum soon.”

How Good is Brave Search?

Brave search is currently in testing mode. So it’s not fair to make judgments on an unfinished product.

That said, the quality of the search results that I have seen are outstanding in terms of usefulness.

On some searches I noticed some domain crowding but it’s hard to criticize Brave for that because the search engine is currently in a testing phase.

Considering that status, Brave search can be said to do a good job at ranking useful information.

For example, Brave search understands entities (people, places and things) and can surface trending news when an entity is associated with it.

Below is a screenshot showing how typing in a name results in a search suggestion that indicates Brave understands the entity.

Screenshot of trending topics in Brave Search

The search results page (SERP) for the runner, Shelby Houlihan, shows a knowledge panel on the right that includes links to social profiles. The SERP itself displays a mix of user intents including news, profile pages, and an overview of the person.

Screenshot of Brave Search Currently in Testing Mode

Screenshot of Brave SearchThis is what Google’s search results for the same search looks like:

Screenshot Google

A Better User Experience?

What elevates the Brave search results is how it manages to look uncluttered while accomplishing so much.

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Each informational section is contained within a subtly demarcated area that makes it easy to scan the different sections of a search result.

Here is a side by side comparison between Brave and Google for in mobile:

Screenshot Comparison of Mobile Versions of Brave Search and Google

Screenshot of Brave and Google search comparison

Google crams a Top Stories news carousel at the top plus links to other informational features. Brave by contrast shows an overview of the person.

Google’s search result doesn’t have such clear borders between the different content sections which gives it a looser and somewhat more chaotic appearance in comparison with how Brave displays the search result.

I never previously noticed how unrefined and rough Google’s search results were until I began using Brave search.

Google created the expectation of what a search result should look like and all search engines have followed in Google’s path, including Yahoo, Bing and DuckDuckGo.

Back in the Brave Mobile Search, scrolling down reveals a top stories style carousel.

Screenshot of Brave Search on a Mobile Device

Screenshot of Brave Search on a Mobile Device

There is a lack of clutter in Brave that sets it apart not only from Google but from Bing and DuckDuckGo.

After using Brave, I suspect that a reason why I have not embraced Bing, despite liking Bings search results, is that Bing feels similar to Google.

Brave on the other hand offers me something different that feels just right and makes me want to return to it, something I’ve never felt using any other Google competitor.

Before using Brave search I was fine with how Google’s search results were displayed.

But after using Brave I began noticing a lack of refinement in how Google’s search results were displayed and wanting to go back to the relatively more relaxed user experience provided by Brave search.

Google Versus DuckDuckGo Versus Bing Versus Brave

Here is a comparison between the three search engines. The search query is a vague query that contains multiple search intents: Lollipop.

A search for “lollipop” can be for the candy, the song, a video of the singers of the song and so on.

Google’s Search Results for Search Query Lollipop

Google search results for query lollipop

Bing’s SERP for Lollipop

Screenshot of Bing Search results for lollipop

This is DuckDuckGo’s Ad Laden Search Result

Screenshot of DuckDuckGo Search results for lollipop

Screenshot of Brave Search Results for Lollipop:

Screenshot of Brave Search results

SERPs for Multiple Search Intents

One of the challenges for search is showing results for vague queries that have multiple search intents. The classic is example is the word, jaguar, which can mean the automobile, the animal and a sports team.

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This is how Google displays the Jaguar SERP:

Screenshot of Google search results for jaguar

This is DuckDuckGo’s SERP for Jaguar

Screenshot of DuckDuckGo search results for jaguar

Screenshot of Brave Search SERP for Jaguar

Screenshot of Brave Search results for jaguar

Of the three search results it’s clear that Brave shows the cleanest search result that many may find pleasing because Brave is not currently showing advertising.

Brave Search Intends to Be Better than Other Engines

Not showing advertising is the strategy that Google used for years to peel users away from the dominant search engines and Internet portals in the early 2000’s.

Brave may be using that same strategy of not showing ads in order to peel off users from the dominant search engines until it reaches a critical mass of users.

One thing that is clear is that Brave Search intends to win over users away from Google and Bing.

According to Brave:

“Brave’s goal is to reduce the reach of other search engines. …In a short time our search results will actually surpass other engines, both by combatting their ranking algorithm bias, and by indexing a more complete set of the pages on the Web worth reading.”

Brave Search is still in testing mode. But even in testing mode Brave Search shows remarkably useful search results.

Some Internet users do not like this less is more kind of design aesthetic so it remains to be seen if users will enjoy Brave enough to make the switch.

One thing in its favor is that presenting a new user experience is a strategy that previous challengers have not tried and could account for their failure to surpass Google.

Brave is still in preview mode but what’s out there right now is promising.

Citation

Wait List for Previewing Brave Search

Searchenginejournal.com

BING

New Microsoft Bing Travel Search Features

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Microsoft Bing announced new travel search features including suggested itineraries and inspiration, 360 immersive views, drink and dining information and coupons and deals. This currently is live in the United States.

Here is what is new with these new travel search features in Bing.

Suggested itineraries & inspiration

You should see a section named “What to see & do” for the trip duration to get an idea of what your trip might look like, Microsoft said. You can also click on “Book flights” or “Book hotels” to get a full-page booking experience.

Here is a screenshot:

Coupons & deals

Microsoft partnered with various sites to show competitive rates for your travel. They also offer packages of bundled hotel and flight experiences. You can also scroll down to the “Coupons & Deals” section to browse cost-conscious options for flights, trip packages, and more.

360 immersive views

Bing also shows “stunning landscapes” it says when you click “Experience in 360” to check out immersive views. Here is a screenshot:

Drink & dining information

There is also the “Eat & Drink” search carousel to start getting excited about the dishes and beverages you can expect to taste, Microsoft said. Here is what this looks like:

click for full size

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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BING

Edge goes on to inform Microsoft of the searches you do in the browser …

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Microsoft Edge can send, by default, to Microsoft the results of any search you do in the browser. The feature is not limited to Bing Search, but informs Microsoft about searches across all search engines, including Google, DuckDuckGo, or StartPage, performed by Edge users, if the setting is enabled.

A gHack reporter opened Microsoft Edge today and saw that Microsoft Edge Support showed him a pop-up window shortly after launch. I was telling him that he could help Microsoft improve search and that Microsoft “will collect the results of the searches you do in the browser to improve Microsoft products and services. ”

This announcement also clarified that the data collected by Microsoft are “never associated” with the user or the device.

Indeed, the journalist accessed the settings and there he verified that Microsoft Edge had activated this possibility, which was previously deactivated. Personally, I have checked it in my browser and the feature remains disabled, so It is recommended that each Edge user take a look at their configuration.

Where to turn this tracking feature on and off

The setting in question It’s called “Helping Improve Microsoft Products by Submitting Search Results to the Web”, and is in the privacy section. Access your Edge browser and click on the three horizontal points in the upper right corner. Access the settings. Once inside the configuration, look in the right column for the option “Privacy, search and services”.

Several options appear where you can go controlling your privacy in various areas of browser use (For example, I found out now that I had activated the option to allow sites to check if they have saved payment methods “something that I am not interested in having activated). And right there you can see if the function is activated that says like this:”help improve Microsoft products by submitting web search results“. If the tab is blank and to the left, it is deactivated. If it is blue and to the right it is activated. There you can decide what to do.

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With it enabled, Microsoft can collect Microsoft can collect the term you are looking for, search results shown to you, your interaction with search results, including links clicked, and demographics, based on information specific to Microsoft.

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Microsoft Bing just got a nice little upgrade, but you still won’t use it

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Microsoft is adding a number of new travel-related features to its Bing search engine to help you save time and money when booking your next trip.

Planning a trip can be an exhausting process as you often have to visit one site to get inspiration, another to book flights and yet another to check out travel maps. For this reason, Microsoft has created a one-stop travel shop in Bing that provides aggregated information about destinations, itineraries, flights, hotels and more all in a visually rich format.

The software giant’s Travel Guide serves as a jumping-off point for all of your trip-planning needs. You can see suggested itineraries under the “What to see & do” section or click on “Book flights” or “Book hotels” to get a full-page booking experience.

As Microsoft has partnered with top travel industry players to help you find competitive rates, you can be sure you’re getting the best prices. Also, if you’re pressed for time, Bing now offers bundled hotel and flight packages to make booking a breeze.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Travel Guide home page

If you just want to plan a future trip without a specific destination in mind, Bing’s Travel Guide home page is a great starting point to find further inspiration. The page rotates through top destinations worldwide and if one catches your eye, you can click on “Explore more” to visit the detailed page for that place.

Those seeking stunning landscapes can click on “Experience in 360” to check out immersive views of potential destinations while those more interested in a destination’s local cuisine can explore Bing’s “Eat & Drink” carousel to see all of the dishes and beverages they can taste there. Meanwhile, travelers on a budget can scroll down to the “Coupons & Deals” section to browse cost-conscious options for flights, trip packages and more.

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Although you may not be traveling anywhere anytime soon, at least you’ll be properly prepared for your next trip.

Bing’s new travel experience is currently only available in the US though Microsoft plans to make it available in more markets in the near future according to a new blog post.

Author: Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal and TechRadar. He has been a tech enthusiast for as long as he can remember and has spent countless hours researching and tinkering with PCs, mobile phones and game consoles.

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