Brave, the maker of the homonymous web browser, has announced a new feature called Discussions that adds conversations from online forums to its privacy-focused search engine.
The new development enriches search results with answers from online discussions, such as threads on Reddit and StackExchange, on any topic.
Until now, Brave Search was limited to website content that can be vague, generic, low quality, and only appear high in results due to SEO optimization.
Brave Search will evaluate search terms and correlate them with online user discussions to give people access to richer or more accurate results for their query.
The topics that Brave believes are going to benefit most from Discussions are:
• Product questions.
• Travel-related topics.
• Computer coding questions.
• Very specific queries that don’t have many matches on websites.
“The power of Discussions is that it offers alternative, forum-driven answers to search queries. It meets a human desire for social proof and begins to address the issue of automated content and SEO spam.” says the announcement.
How Discussions work
When searching for something on Brave Search, the new system will find and display relevant results under a special “Discussions” section, categorizing them separately for convenience.
Brave Search discussion results (Brave)
The Discussions ranking algorithm uses some valuation elements to appreciate the usefulness of the various online discussions, summed up in the following:
- The recency of the topic
- The popularity of the topic
- User engagement (upvotes, number of responses)
- Relevance to user’s query
Obviously, the above isn’t enough to form a perfect ranking system, but considering the challenge of automatically evaluating long discussion threads, they should be sufficient as a first step.
For now, the system is limited to drawing results from Reddit and StackExchange, but more sources are expected to be added in the near future.
A word on Brave Search
Brave Search first became available to users of the browser on version 1.31 on Windows and Android, and version 1.32 on iOS, released on October 2021.
The main difference between Brave Search and other established search engines is that it promises not to track or profile users and to take targeted advertising to the back seat.
Also, its search index is private, so no third-party providers are involved in the data exchange process. Finally, its ranking model is open source and completely transparent to public scrutiny.