• Brave Search has come out of Beta with an interesting new feature called Goggles.
  • People can use Goggles to rearrange the search results as per their preferences.
  • Privacy advocates welcome the feature, arguing it’ll help give people better control over their search results.

Brave Search Engine beta

If you’re tired of seeing results from the same websites, Brave Search has a new feature to shuffle things up.

Brave Search, from the privacy-centric project that also makes the Brave web browser, is now out of beta and has launched a new feature called Goggles that allows people to create custom rules and filters to alter the way the results are ranked. In essence, this enables people to customize their search results.

“Essentially, Goggles will act as a re-ranking option on top of the Brave Search index,” noted Brave as it announced the feature. “This means that instead of a single ranking, Brave Search can offer an almost limitless number of ranking options, enabling search use-cases that could be too specific for a general purpose search engine.”

My Search

In its release announcement, Brave argues traditional search engines like Google don't necessarily fetch results that are meaningful to everyone. Their ranking, Brave asserts, is prone to bias, which could bury useful results under irrelevant ones. 

"The world is too diverse for a single ranking, so Goggles opens search ranking and filtering transparently for everyone to use, share, and improve," noted Brave, adding that Goggles can help weed out the noise.

This makes perfect sense to Yury Molodtsov, COO at MA Family. “Just like many people, I’ve been noticing that Google becomes more and more useless for a lot of searches,” Molodtsov told Lifewire over Twitter DMs. “People got too good at gaming it through SEO, so low-quality articles suppress anything that’s actually good.”

Content is King Text Typed on Vintage Typewriter

Nico Dekens, an Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) specialist, is impressed by Brave’s commitment to respecting people’s privacy. In an email interview with Lifewire, Dekens praised Brave Search’s new Goggles feature, which he said would help generate results that are as neutral as possible while trying to evade SEO, advertisement, and fingerprinting algorithms.

"I think there is a growing demand by users to be more in control when it comes to searching the internet," said Dekens. "Brave clearly sees this need and builds tools that could help."

The search engine has made some pre-cooked Goggles available to give people a taste of how the feature can be used to remove the bias in search results, for instance, by prioritizing smaller tech blogs. There’s also a Pinterest goggle that’ll help filter out image results from the popular image sharing website.

Decide for Yourself

Recently, another privacy-first search engine, DuckDuckGo, rubbed people the wrong way by deciding to censor certain results.

Nate Bartram, privacy advocate and founder of The New Oil, said that people who rallied against DuckDuckGo for the censorship claimed to be concerned with making their own decisions, and didn’t want a company deciding for them what’s disinformation and fake news. 

"This is a concern I honestly completely understand and sympathize with, however, I think human nature is a lot more powerful than we like to admit," Bartram told Lifewire over email. "We naturally gravitate toward things that make us comfortable and confirm our biases, and while a lot of us think that we're smart enough to be aware of and counter our biases, the truth is that most of us just become better at lying to ourselves about it."

Bartram thinks the Goggles feature has the potential to be useful since it could be used to remove, for instance, "copycat" content and "best of" websites. However, he points to some of the goggles, particularly "News from the Right" and "News from the Left," to suggest that the feature could create echo chambers.

"While this could be used for good, for example, to boost results from sites you don't normally agree with so you can challenge your own bubble and get a more balanced opinion, it's also just as easy to use it to filter out content you disagree with," opined Bartram.

But he also believes that it isn't Brave's job to force upon users what content they consume. 

"Maybe it's better to let people pick their own echo chambers rather than subtly forcing it on them the way that sites like Facebook and Twitter do," said Bartram. "Maybe most people largely won't use this for news, but rather to get rid of annoying content like I mentioned earlier. I guess only time will tell."