Brave Acquires Tailcat to Create Private Search Engine Competitor to Google

The move comes as privacy continues to grow in profile to become a real market advantage.

Mar 3, 2021 at 10:19 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:20 p.m. UTC

Privacy-oriented browser Brave has announced the acquisition of Tailcat, an open search engine. The move is the basis of forthcoming product Brave Search, which Brave is pitching as a non-tracking alternative to Google Search on Chrome and mobile.

  • “The Tailcat search engine is built on top of a completely independent index, capable of delivering the quality people expect, but without compromising their privacy,” read a blog post announcing the acquisition. “Tailcat does not collect IP addresses or use personally identifiable information to improve search results.”
  • Brave Search is a new addition to the suite of Brave’s privacy products. In 2021, Brave has reached over 25 million active monthly users according to the company, and sees this growth in line with consumers moving towards privacy-focused products like Signal and others.
  • Brave Search is being developed with similar protections to the Brave Browser, including not tracking or profiling users, using open ranking models to “prevent algorithmic biases and outright censorship” and offering Brave Search to other search engines, among a number of other areas.
  • The blog post also noted that Brave will be exploring “blockchain-based options and new developments, including for e-commerce uses.”
  • “The only way to counter Big Tech with its bad habit of collecting personal data is to develop a robust, independent and privacy-preserving search engine that delivers the quality users have come to expect. People should not be forced to choose between privacy and quality,” said Dr. Josep M. Pujol, head of the Tailcat project, in a statement accompanying the announcement.
  • The move comes as privacy continues to grow in profile to a real market advantage. Google announced today it plans to phase out third-party cookies that allow advertisers to track you and will not develop alternatives to doing so.
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