Brave Search’s New Feature Aims to Provide 'More Relevant' Results

People power!

  • Brave Search has announced a new Discussions feature to include posts from forums like Reddit in the search results.
  • Brave thinks this will make the search results more relevant.
  • Experts say it’ll be a tough balancing act since popular content isn’t always accurate.
Person Using Mobile Phone With Search Engine Symbol

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Ever feel Google’s search results are too similar to its ads and not really relevant to your search query?

If you’re looking for an alternative to Google’s search engine, you’re not alone. Brave Search, the privacy-focussed search engine from the makers of the Brave Browser, has a new feature called Discussions that’ll add conversations from online forums to its search results. It argues the feature will fetch more relevant search results and help filter out the noise.

"Brave’s Discussions feature is an interesting new approach to serving information to users based on an identified need within the search space," Chris Rodgers, founder and CEO of SEO Optimization Agency, Colorado SEO Pros, told Lifewire over email. "New ideas and approaches are good for competition, as well as the end user."

SEO Spam

Search engine optimization (SEO) increases the visibility of online content by helping it rank higher in the search results. Brave argues that SEO helps content win favors with the search engine, which doesn’t always mean the top results are the most relevant to the people searching for information.

"[SEO] has become such a science—and a big business—that results pages in Big Tech search engines like Google are often cluttered with ads and automated content (or "SEO spam") from marketers trying to game the system and increase the rank of their sites," wrote Brave, while announcing the new feature.

The company argued that Discussions will infuse real-human conversations into the results by fetching actual conversations related to the search query, pulled from popular forum sites like Reddit. 

In their announcement, Brave referred to a recent viral post titled "Google Search is dying," asserting that an increasing number of people are moving away from traditional search engines like Google to using forums like Reddit to search for relevant information.

"Why are people searching Reddit specifically? The short answer is that Google search results are clearly dying. The long answer is that most of the web has become too inauthentic to trust," wrote Dmitri Brereton in the post.

In his detailed analysis of Google’s impending demise, Brereton argued that thanks to Reddit’s poor search interface, people often resort to using Google by appending the word "reddit" to their search queries.

Brave’s Discussions feature is an interesting new approach to serving information to users based on an identified need within the search space.

In an email exchange with Lifewire, Brereton, a software engineer at Gem, said that this arrangement works fine, but it forces people into one or the other kind of a situation. They’ll either get Google's top results, which are possibly spammy articles, or only Reddit results, which might miss out on other legitimate sources.

"With this discussions feature, Brave is trying to give you the best of both worlds, where you can see regular web results in case there's something valuable there, but you can also see discussion forums like Reddit where real humans are sharing their honest thoughts," explained Brereton.

Popularly Relevant

Rodgers shared that in a bid to improve its results, Google has been incorporating machine learning into its algorithm for organic search to promote trusted sources of content. He explained that in the modern SEO world, Google will promote content that shows authors on the website are real experts, the websites are legitimate, and the content is up to date and accurate.

"[On the other hand], social media platforms promote popularity over authenticity and accuracy," said Rodgers.

Perusing Brave’s explanation of the Discussions feature, Rodgers wondered if the new feature is just placing value on information based on social votes more related to virality than accuracy. If that’s indeed the case, he believes this could lead Discussions to serve information as equally inaccurate as what they previously received via "SEO spam."

blackboard showing SEO web

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"Ultimately, Brave’s "Discussions" feature may offer users a different source of information and way of finding answers to important questions, but it is also important to be mindful of trusting information sources based on upvotes and number of responses," asserted Rodgers.

Brereton also agrees and thinks it’ll be tricky for Brave to balance regular web results with Discussions. It’ll only get progressively difficult to manage the quality of discussion sources as Brave Search starts to include a broader range of forums. 

"But if they can figure these things out, it will certainly enhance search results," believed Brereton. "I wouldn't be surprised if Google releases something similar."

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