Anyone can create or modify a pair of glasses. However, in the beta release, Brave created eight different glasses as an example. (He says they will be eliminated when people create theirs). These examples include Goggles to reclassify search results to remove imitation pages, remove search results from the top 1,000 websites, increase the content found on technical blogs, and more.
Pujol says Brave created Goggles, which he first described in a 2021 white paper, to try to remove biases from search results, including those from Brave search, and give people more options. “Biases are everywhere: the underlying data, which sites are easier to track, which models to choose, feature selection, presentation biases, popularity, the list can go on indefinitely,” says Pujol. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to remove all biases from search results.
“Glasses will allow for the creation of multiple universes in which users can search,” says Uri Gal, a professor of business information systems at the University of Sydney. Gal adds that the move is welcome in a search market that has “seen little innovation or competition” over the past two decades. “It would reduce the risk of people having a single view of reality, or that part of reality that interests them, that is created and maintained by a single platform (e.g., Google, Facebook) based on proprietary algorithms,” says Gal .
Brave knows that people can use Goggles to reinforce their worldview and filter topics that align with their existing beliefs. At the time of its launch, AllSides, an American company that values media organizations for their political bias, has created political Goggles on both the right and the left. “We believe in free speech and, as such, it is not up to us to decide what is right or wrong,” says Pujol. “The person using Goggles is doing a conscious act when applying a Goggle, and the opposite prospects should be readily available. This explanation alone is an improvement over the current scenario, where this kind of alteration is done without the user realizes it ”.
Brave says it will treat Goggles the same way it does with all web results and “will not censor or control them” unless legally required, such as removing child sexual abuse material.
However, there are questions about how this will work in reality. “Exercising bias control is an action for thinkers,” says Bart Willemsen, a vice president who focuses on Gartner’s privacy, adding that he hopes Goggles can have positive results. “In the abundance of information available, including misinformation and misinformation, properly curing what is believed to be relevant and what is not, or even false, is a huge task,” says Willemsen.
Despite Google’s dominance, there is a thriving marketplace for privacy-focused alternative search engines, which claim not to track users or use their personal information for creepy ads. This includes Brave, which launched its beta search last year. Among others, all with slightly different privacy statements and ways of working, are DuckDuckGo, StartPage and Mojeek. (DuckDuckGo uses Bing to help drive its search results, while StartPage relies on Google.) While billions of searches are made each year with Google alternatives, it’s still a drop in the ocean compared with Google domain.
The search results that companies show, while based on multiple factors, can be controversial. Businesses may face difficulties with amplifying political content and issues around freedom of expression. In October 2021, Twitter admitted that its algorithm amplifies right-wing politicians more than left-wing politicians. The far right recently complained that DuckDuckGo limited Russian propaganda, although its results were provided in part by Microsoft’s Bing. In contrast, a 2019 study by Stanford University researchers found that Google search results did not favor any of the political wings.
When Brave unveiled its idea for Goggles in 2021, it said it would open a bid to incorporate Goggles into any other search engine. So far, Pujol says, there has been no conversation about it. And big changes in the status quo may be unlikely. “I don’t see Google or any other major platform integrating user-defined glasses,” says Barnet. “It would interfere with how they personalize your advertising and how they collect data about your business to deliver that advertising. In other words, it would interfere with your business model.”