Privacy-focused search engine Brave Search has completely removed all its third-party indexes like Bing, and will now rely solely on its proprietary index to fully achieve independence and provide a real alternative to Big Tech search engines.
When Brave Search was initially launched in 2021, it acknowledged its reliance on other indexes for approximately 13 percent of search queries. However, the company has since made substantial progress in reducing this dependency, with the figure dropping to seven percent last year.
“By default, Brave Search users will now receive 100 percent of results from the Brave Index, giving users fully independent results. As always, our results will preserve user privacy,” said Brave Search in a statement.
This decision aligns with the company’s commitment to prioritizing user privacy and delivering search results untainted by external influences. Brave Search empowers its users with independent and privacy-preserving search results, distinguishing itself from mainstream search engines dominated by data-driven advertising models. (Related: Brave Search and Presearch say they don’t censor search results.)
However, Brave Search still does not include images or video results from its index. The company is actively refining these results’ quality before integrating them fully. In the meantime, users can redirect image and video searches to well-established search engines like Bing or Google rather than relying on a third-party API. Additionally, users still benefit from the browser’s built-in tracking protection even when viewing results from external search engines within the Brave browser.
Brave Search will continue offering this option for those who prefer the inclusion of Google Fallback Mixing. Users can support the growth and improvement of search index quality by participating in the Web Discovery Project and providing valuable feedback.
Aside from removing third-part indexes, Brave Search has also unveiled its own search API alongside the abandonment of third-party indexes. Although specifics about the search API have not yet been disclosed, Brave has promised to release further details soon. This development indicates that Brave intends to expand its search capabilities and open up opportunities for integration with other platforms and applications.
Microsoft Edge is leaking the sites you visit to Bing
While Brave Search is making an effort to protect the privacy of its users, Microsoft Edge is doing the opposite. The latter has been leaking the URLs visited by its users to the Bing API website.
Software engineer Rafael Rivera found during an investigation that the leak is the product of a poorly applied feature in Microsoft Edge. “Microsoft Edge now has a creator follow feature that is enabled by default. It appears the intent was to notify Bing when you’re on certain pages, such as YouTube. But it doesn’t appear to be working correctly, instead sending nearly every domain you visit to Bing,” Rivera said.
The said feature was introduced in the Edge browser last year. It is designed to allow users to follow their favorite content creators on YouTube and other websites. However, if the feature is enabled, every URL visited is sent to bingapis.com.
“We’re aware of reports, are investigating, and will take appropriate action to address any issues,” said Caitlin Roulston, director of communications at Microsoft, but the company did not explain how the feature works or why URLs are being sent to bingapis.com.
Until Microsoft completes its investigation and patches the problem, users are advised to disable Edge’s “follow creators” feature. To do so, users should navigate to Settings, choose the Privacy, Search, and Services tab, and scroll down to Services. They can then toggle off the switch beside “Show suggestions to follow creators in Microsoft Edge.”
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