Brave Search launches Goggles, a New Beta Feature to Customise Your Search Results

June 30, 2022
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Brave Search Introduces & Releases "Goggles" To Help You "Choose Your Own Ranking" Filters for Search Results

Brave, the web browser designed to protect your privacy and free speech, has just launched a new feature called "Goggles". Goggles is a new feature of their Brave Search engine. Its aim is to improve Search, Open Ranking, and Algorithmic Transparency. Essentially Goggles act as a filter to provide custom re-ranking to the results of your search queries.

Brave Search Goggles aims at reducing the influence of algorithmic choices made by tech giants. In this article, we take a closer look at how to refine and re-rank your search results using Goggles. Let's look at Goggles, how it works, and why it represents a fundamental push towards algorithmic transparency and openness in Search!

Brave Search Goggles

Bravely Challenging the Browser and Search Monopoly

Google is known for tracking your searches and keeping track of what you look at online. Brave is a web browser which launched its stable release in 2019, aimed initially at users who have stronger privacy considerations, and to break the status quo set by the tech giants. It is a great alternative to the popular browsers Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Brave Search also uses its own tech stack to combat the dependencies that alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo and StartPage have on tech giants. Brave designed their search engine index from ground up. It has features that help you protect your privacy. It does not track your queries. Brave browser also has a built-in ad blocker to help you avoid ads that track you online.

The Simple Case For Brave Search Goggles

Big Tech, according to Brave, is prejudiced in its search rankings and biased in its privacy considerations. By using black box algorithms, collecting metadata like geo coordinates, browser history, and other personal data, tech giants harvest user data for their profits. Brave also claims that search engines that rely on tech giants for maintenance aren't truly independent, which is why it has created Brave Search and Goggles.

Goggles is a free, open-source software project that enables you or other Brave members to contribute to the project's growth and expansion by building and sharing their own Goggles, which can essentially grow to a limitless number. Brave Search Goggles can be used through the Brave Search Engine on desktop as well as mobile.

The new feature "Goggles" by Brave Search

Brave has made significant progress since Brave Search made its debut a year ago in 2021, and now it has taken a giant stride forward by launching a new feature called "Goggles". To commemorate its first year, Brave Search is offering the Goggles feature to all its users.

Goggles that have already been created can be used by any user to change the filtering and ranking of sites from the Brave Search Index. Currently, there are only 8 Goggles available, which is a small number. But this is simply the beginning!

Goggles for All Users

By selecting a particular Goggle, users can easily choose and apply custom filters and ranking criteria for their search results. They can also switch between different Goggles for the same query, thereby detecting the biases in search results and information more clearly.

This means that Brave can offer many different ranking options, which is great for specific research needs that a general search engine might not cover. Take any major all purpose search engine, like Google or Bing. These have shown to have editorial biases based on their political leanings. Brave is designed to avoid any editorial biases. However, all search engines, including Brave, have some intrinsic bias.

Goggles allows users to defeat and rebalance the intrinsic biases in information ordering coming from algorithmic choices made by tech giants, using their own personal criteria and preferences.Essentially Goggles act as a lens through which users can mindfully alter their search experiences. Instead of being forced to act on single ranking, users can now find limitless number of ways to filter and rank their search results as is relevant to their use case and purpose.

Goggles for Developers and Communities

New Goggles can be created by anyone with basic developer skills. They must make specific search rules and filters using the Goggles syntax in plaintext files. You can includes names of websites you want to include or exclude, how much to boost their rank in the given Goggle, and various other criteria.

These self contained text files must then be uploaded to Github. This Github link can then be submitted to Brave Search. This will enable the new Goggle, and any user can then choose it and customize the order of search results from the Brave Search Index.

What Does Goggles Do, Basically?

Goggles is a new feature that allows you to customize your search results intelligently and mindfully. Goggles is in beta right now, offering a unique way to search the internet. Brave discussed this new innovative function in a blog post on the Brave official blog website announcing it.

Goggles enables you to negate any built-in bias that you may discover in search engines, based on your location, browsing history, and other personalized data. You may use your own rules, custom filters, or criteria that you or others have created with Goggles to refine and reorder the sites and pages. This allows you to explore an infinite number of ranking options and possibilities.

Simply Explained: How Does Goggles Work?

Goggles help you weed out what you don't want to see and focus on what you do want to see in the Brave search results. In the case of the two Goggles developed by AllSides.com, called "News from the Left" and "News from the Right", the focus is to weed out the Left-wing and Right-wing bias seen in media outfits.

Remember that this feature is still in Beta, and in the future, the increasing participation of community will lead to creation of innumerable Goggles created for varying use cases. They will help users to disable various kinds of intrinsic biases, filter bubbles, propaganda, fake news, etc. in the social information landscape.

Here's how the new Brave Search Goggles feature can be used in practice:

For this example, let's imagine that you want to search for a particular topic on the Brave Search. You first want to see only results from the Left-wing ideology. Then see only the results influenced by Right-wing ideology. And then make up your mind about the topic independently.

  1. Go to search.brave.com on your computer or mobile. Search for any topic or words as you normally would. Let's try "Elon Musk".Brave Search
  2. After that, click on the Goggles tab on the top menu bar.
  3. Now choose the News from the Left Goggle. This Goggle has been created by AllSides.com. Selecting it will boost and highlight the content from sources with an AllSides Media Bias Rating of Left or Lean Left.Goggles Discover
  4. You can view the results for the News from the Left Goggle and observe their characteristics. What web pages are listed? In what order? What is their sentiment? What topics do they include? What topics do they ignore?
  5. You can click on Follow button to easily access News from the Left Goggle from the Manage menu.News from the Left Goggle
  6. Now try the contrasting Goggle called News from the Right, also created by AllSides.com. To select it, click on Manage > Discover.Manage Discover
  7. Then browse under Popular Goggles, find News from the Right, and select it.Popular Goggles News from the Right
  8. Selecting News from the Right will boost and highlight the content from sources with an AllSides Media Bias Rating of Right or Lean Right. You can view the results and observe: What web pages are listed? In what order? What is their sentiment? What topics do they include? What topics do they ignore? You can Follow this Goggle as well.Brave Search Goggles News from the Right
  9. Try comparing the results and consuming the information from both these opposing or contrasting Goggles. This will help you to really grasp the difference in search results and their ranking, and how it impacts your information diet.
  10. After this, you will be more aware of the biases in the media landscape. You will have well-formed insights into any topic after consuming different information using Goggles. This will reduce the biases and prejudices in your views and opinions.

Exploring the Goggles feature further:

  1. You can learn more about a particular Goggle by going to Manage > Discover and clicking About this Goggle on the Goggle card.
  2. You may turn off any or all Goggles at any time by simply clicking on Manage and select "See global results" to view the global unfiltered results.Manage See Global Results
  3. You can follow any given Goggle by clicking the Follow button next to it. This adds the Goggle to the list "Goggles you are following" under the Manage menu, which makes it easy for you to apply a Goggle to your current query.
  4. You can also remove a Goggle from your list "Goggles you are following" by clicking on Manage and then Unfollow.

What are the different Goggles available right now?

  1. Currently, only a small number of Goggles created by Brave Search are available to serve as examples for the community. Make sure to try all the other Goggles!
  2. We have already seen the two Goggles News from the Left and News from the Right by AllSides.com in the above example.
  3. The Goggles created by the Goggles 101 Team to serve as examples are:
    - "Copycats Removal" for filtering out copycat content
    - "Tech Blogs" to boost pages from tech blogs
    - "Hacker News / 1k short" to prioritize domains popular with the HackerNews community
    - "No Pinterest" to filter out pages from Pinterest
    - "1k Short" to filter the top 1000 sites and show more organic content from individual bloggers, and
    - "Rust programming" to boost pages related to the Rust programming language.

The Future Outlook for Brave Search Goggles

Biased and monopolized ranking of information have become the norm on other engines such as Google. Brave has designed the Goggles feature to give users an alternative to this. When you search for something using Goggles, Brave will show you a variety of results from different sources. This includes results from Brave's own private index, which contains over 10 billion web pages. Essentially Goggles act as tools to refine, filter, and re-rank your search results.

You could emphasize or educate cognitive bias if you're searching for content from just one direction. You should be cautious because reinforcing or introducing cognitive bias may lead to unintended results. To minimize the risk, you can use two opposing Goggles and then remove them entirely to balance your Brave search.

Conclusion

Are you looking to escape the monopolized search results provided elsewhere? Brave's new Goggles feature is a welcome addition for you! With its privacy-centric design and unbiased results, Goggles is sure to give you a better search experience.

Try searching for the same question using different Goggles. This will give you the sense of how searching with Goggles compares to a normal query on Brave and other search engines. You'll notice that your web page rankings seem different. You can now see the data previously hidden from a typical search. So, do you think Goggles is a useful feature for you? Try it out yourself at search.brave.com and let us know about your experiences in the comments!

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