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Even just to remind the world there's life beyond Google and DuckDuckGo

Having rebelled against Google's web hegemony with a privacy-focused browser and a crypto token-based monetization system, Brave Software opened a second competitive front on Tuesday with the beta launch of Brave Search.

Brave has managed to attract more than 32 million monthly active users to its alternative browser that's similar to Google Chrome – is based on its open-source Chromium foundation – but is still distant enough on the privacy continuum to avoid being overshadowed.

"Brave Search is the industry’s most private search engine, as well as the only independent search engine, giving users the control and confidence they seek in alternatives to big tech,” said Brendan Eich, CEO, and co-founder of Brave, in a statement. 

"Unlike older search engines that track and profile users and newer search engines that are mostly a skin on older engines and don’t have their own indexes, Brave Search offers a new way to get relevant results with a community-powered index, while guaranteeing privacy."

Brave Search isn't intended to replace Google Search, at least at this point, but it does represent an attempt to convince internet users that search can function well without surrendering data.

Eich is throwing down the gauntlet not just to Google, but also to the likes of DuckDuckGo, another company that's made headway against the search giant by promoting privacy.

DuckDuckGo says it uses some 400 different sources to inform its search index, though its reliance on Microsoft Bing became evident when the disappearance of a politically sensitive image in Redmond's product earlier this month was reflected in DuckDuckGo and other alternative search engines.

Brave Search uses on its own community-generated index, based on the Tailcat search engine acquired from unsuccessful Chrome-challenger Cliqz. But it also provides a way to make queries through Google, Bing, and other search services in the form of a "Find elsewhere" section below its homegrown search results list.

In its current form, Brave Search works pretty well. The Register has not had the opportunity to test it thoroughly but we found it returned useful results for most queries we tried.

In one case where we felt motivated to take our query elsewhere, the Brave Search results page's "Find elsewhere" link presented the following prompt seeking permission to submit the keywords to Google: "For queries where Brave Search is not yet refined, your browser will anonymously check Google for the same query, mix the results for you and send the query data back to us so we can improve Brave Search for everyone."

Brave presents its independent index as a point of differentiation with DuckDuckGo, though it may not be 100 percent independent. The company explains that it relies on anonymized contributions from its community to improve its search results.

"However, there are types of queries, as well as certain areas such as image search, for which our results are not relevant enough yet, and in those cases, we are using APIs until we are able to expand our index," the company said in its Brave Search announcement. "The Brave Search independence metric is a progress bar, and our goal is to achieve greater independence and better quality without compromising the privacy of our users."

Get paid for watching ads soon

And to distinguish itself from Google Search, Brave claims to provide privacy and anonymity when searching, and transparency in how its search results are ranked. Presently, Brave offers a Transparency Report, though the page does not yet provide a way to review its "community-curated open ranking models" [PDF], said to be coming soon.

In time, however, the distance between the two companies may dwindle – Brave isn't currently serving ads in its search results but the plan is to offer both ad-free paid search and free ad-supported search that will include private ads that share revenue with ad viewers via Brave Attention Tokens (BAT).

Asked how Brave intends to deal with efforts to manipulate its search results – a persistent issue for Google – Josep Pujol, chief of Search at Brave, told The Register in an email that abuse hasn't been a problem yet.

"But we do expect bad actors to try to alter rankings, from SEO game players to censors," he said. "We do have some tech in the pipeline based on prior work at Cliqz to prevent data pollution [PDF]. Also, it is worth noting that Brave is already solving this kind of problem effectively in the form of anti-fraud for our private ad ecosystem."

Pujol, however, did acknowledge that Brave has to deal with index pollution, just like everyone else.

"We try to have the cleanest index possible, where only Web content that people engage with is indexed," he said. "However, objectionable content is also present in our index, including child sexual abuse material. For such problematic content, we scrub at query-time via filters, and we are working hard to strengthen them."

At this point, it's still too early to tell how Brave Search will be received, but Pujol promised there will be queries per month (QPM) statistics added to Brave's transparency page in the future.

"Right now we are in the first day of public beta and in heavy building mode, but we were pleased to see over 100,000 people join our waitlist for the preview release and testing phase leading up to the beta," he said. ®

[Source: This article was published in theregister.com By Thomas Claburn - Uploaded by the Association Member: Grace Irwin]
Categorized in Search Engine

For many folks, Google is the front page of the internet. You don’t type Facebook.com into your browser. You just type “Facebook,” and then click the first Google result. Or you do a basic search by tapping in what you’re looking for.

But Google is way more powerful than that. You just have to learn a few of its secret code words, and then you can slice and dice your searches like a pro. No more wading through pages of results to find what you want. Use these tricks, and you’ll almost always get what you want on the first page. You can even ask Google to show you the weather.

Google search operators

These tips use Google’s search operators. These are commands that you add to your search terms in order to narrow the scope of the search. To use one, you just type your search as usual, then type the operator afterwards.

For instance, this is how you tell Google to limit your search to one particular website

Apple site:cultofmac.com

Type that into Google (or alternatives like DuckDuckGo), and it will search Cult of Mac for the term “Apple.”

For a complete list of Google’s search operators, check out Joshua Hardwicks’s comprehensive post on the subject at the Hrefs blog. For a sampling of the most useful operators, keep reading!

cache:

This one is great. If you click in the URL bar, and add cache: to the beginning of the URL and hit return, then Google will show you the most recent cached version of a site. This is super handy if a page is down due to excess traffic, or censorship, for example.

intitle:

Add intitle: to your search, and Google will search only the titles of web pages. Great to narrow down searches where you remember a few words from a title.

“search term in quotes”

This is a different kind of operator. If you put a word or words in quote, then Google will search for that exact phrase or word. This also works with ambiguous words, where Google might be confused what you actually mean. It’s also a good way to search for known misspellings.

OR

Type OR or | between terms, and Google will search for either of those terms. This is a rear way to combine search results from two parallel searches. For instance, dock iPhone OR iPad will return a search of both iPad docks and iPhone docks.

related:

This is an odd but very handy operator. You use it without an actual search term. So, if you type related:cultofmac.com, then Google will show you a list of sites which are related to this one. I like this when researching a subject I don’t know much about. If you find one good source, you can quickly discover more.

Quick hits

And finally, a few quick tricks. Try any of the following to get info about a specific thing:

movie:

map:

stocks:

weather:

 [Source: This article was published in cultofmac.com By CHARLIE SORREL - Uploaded by the Association Member: Clara Johnson]

Categorized in Internet Search

Looks like we’re going to be working at home for a few more months. The coronavirus is not abating at all (in fact, cases are rising) and in my area there are no signs that office buildings will be opening any time soon. As someone who has worked from home for many years, I’ve found a few tips that have made everything run smoother, especially when there are no other options. 

1. Get a really powerful laptop

My first and best tip is to think seriously about replacing your laptop. I’m testing out a MacBook Pro right now, and it is a game-changer for me because it’s my primary system at home and when I leave the office for temporary work sessions somewhere else. This system has one of the clearest and brightest displays I’ve seen and the keyboard is a joy for typing. 

2. Find a second place to work

One key for success while working from home is to actually leave home once in a while. This is tricky for me. My favorite coffee-shop near my house only has a drive-through for now and even the patio area is closed. One trick I found is to work at a campsite. I used the Tentrr app recently and worked for several days at a remote campground. I loved being so private and yet sleeping in a real bed (in a tent, no less).

3. Splurge for a really good keyboard

At home, I use the Apple Magic Keyboard which has helped me type faster. It’s a bit more expensive compared to the bargain bin models, but when I can type faster it means I am more productive and have time for other things. I also use a Lenovo full-sized keyboard (KU-0225) because I like the larger keys.

4. Stop texting from your phone

There’s no reason to text from your phone when you are at home. I love the Messages app because I can type my texts on a real keyboard (sent through my iPhone), which is way faster. This is possible on many Windows laptops and desktops these days, including an HP EliteOne 800 model I’m testing.

5. Use apps to remind you not to work

I’ve written before about the Forest app and still use it. It helps me stay attuned to my computer usage. Mindfulness apps help you stay focused while you work and break you out of a work mode using reminders and prompts. Experts say intentional scheduling is the best way to avoid working too many hours at home.

6. Change your task lighting

Lighting impacts your mood while you work, and you can’t rely on a string of sunny days (as I write this, there’s a dark cloud moving into my area) for productivity. I like the Dyson Lightcycle models because you can adjust the color and intensity using an app. It’s a task lamp I can use for reading, signing contracts, or just sitting and doing nothing in what seems like bright sunlight.

7. Stand up once in a while

I’ve mentioned how I’m a big fan of standing desks a few times before. I use a Teknion model that adjusts to a standing height with a quick lever pull. During the pandemic, it’s nice to be able to stand up and make phone calls, then sit for longer typing sessions when I really need to focus. The up-and-down gives me more pep.

8. Eat differently

One key to success has to do with what you eat. At home, it’s tempting to choose sugary foods and snacks as a way to motivate you and build energy. It doesn’t work. I like the company Freshly because you can pick meals that are filling and healthy at the same time. The meals arrive ready to heat up.

9. Write in a journal

Here’s an interesting tip from someone who has journaled for the last 20 years almost daily (minus the days I forget). Starting your day by writing out your thoughts and plans is wise because it settles your mind. I like the Kairos journal, the new Rocketbook smart notebooks, and I’m looking forward to testing the new Remarkable 2 tablet because it feels exactly like writing on real paper.

10. Use a personal whiteboard

I also like using personal whiteboards — I have two at my desk right now — because I can jot down notes easily. Fluidstance just introduced a new model called the Slope. Few of us need actual whiteboards mounted on a wall to brainstorm ideas, but if you’re in a Zoom call everyone can whiteboard together.

[Source: This article was published in forbes.com By John Brandon - Uploaded by the Association Member: Issac Avila]

Categorized in Work from Home

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