Brave, the maker of a privacy-centric web browser and search engine, is addressing a big blind spot in its quest to take on Google by piping in search results from Reddit and other forums.
Those forum threads will appear in a new “Discussions” breakout box whenever Brave’s search algorithm deems them relevant. These threads will appear inside the main search results page and will come from Reddit and Stack Exchange to start, with more sources to follow.
Brave sees the new feature as an antidote to marketing-driven or machine-written content that seems more concerned with appeasing Google’s algorithms than with serving readers. The company cites a recent viral blog post by search engine blogger DKB—which features the provocative headline “Google Search is Dying”—showing a steady increase in Google searches with the term Reddit.
The implication is that people aren’t getting the answers they need from regular search results and are instead seeking out forums such as Reddit for more authentic discussions. (Reddit seems to have picked up on this trend as well, having just overhauled its own search feature.)
In reality, Brave is simply matching a feature that Google has offered for years. When searching for certain topics on Google, you’ll often see a box of results from certain forums—most notably Reddit—mixed in among standard search results, with an option to click through for even more discussion threads. These discussions can be valuable, especially for niche product questions or troubleshooting topics that slip through the cracks of major websites.
But Brave says the new Discussions box is just the beginning of a broader effort to make its search engine more useful. A forthcoming feature called “Brave Goggles,” for instance, will let users create their own filters and rules to control the results they see.
“[T]ogether, Discussions and Goggles will offer a powerful set of tools to counteract bias and Big Tech’s unseen influence on our information,” the company said in a press release.
Brave isn’t alone in trying to offer a Google search alternative with an emphasis on privacy, as it does not create a profile of users’ search histories for ad targeting purposes. Other competitors in the space include DuckDuckGo, Neeva, You.com, and Startpage.
Unlike most of those companies, Brave is building its own search index instead of relying on Microsoft’s Bing (or Google, in Startpage’s case) for its core results. (Neeva, which initially depended on Bing for core search results, has also been gradually building its own index.) Whether it’s an answer to SEO spam or not, mixing in forum conversations will help Brave’s homegrown search engine feel more like a true Google competitor.