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Brave adds AI-powered Summarizer tool to its search


Image: EmirMemedovski/Getty Images

Privacy-focused browser maker Brave has launched an AI-powered feature called ‘Summarizer’ for its search engine.   

Brave launched its search engine two years ago after acquiring the Tailcat search engine. The company pledged to take on Google with a focus on privacy and an independent search index — rather than relying on, for example, Microsoft’s Bing search index, as DuckDuckGo did. 

Also: How to ensure your privacy with a web browser

Now, in response to the success of the large language models (LLMs) behind OpenAI’s Microsoft-backed ChatGPT, Brave has launched Summarizer on Brave search, which it says is not based on ChatGPT. 

Summarizer is a bit like Google’s featured snippets descriptions on a results page, which lists the source of the information. Google tweaked this feature last year to avoid summaries based on bogus information. But, according to Brave, while the Summarizer uses LLMs, it’s not prone to the odd musings of other AI chatbots.

Brave says its search Summarizer “provides concise and to-the-point answers at the top of Brave Search results pages, in response to the user’s input, solely based on Web search results.” 

The company adds: “Unlike a purely generative AI model, which is prone to spout unsubstantiated assertions, we trained our large language models (LLMs) to process multiple sources of information present on the Web. This produces a more concise, accurate answer, expressed in coherent language.”

Similarly to Bing Chat and Google’s featured snippets, Brave cites the source of data in its summaries and provides links to the source. 

“Unlike AI chat tools which can provide fabricated responses, the Summarizer generates a plain-written summary at the top of the search results page, aggregating the latest sources on the Web and providing source attribution for transparency and accountability,” Josep Pujol, chief of search at Brave, said in a statement. 

Brave says the Summarizer is “not powered by ChatGPT or its backend systems”. The company uses three different LLMs trained on different tasks, including question answering, ‘zero-shot’ learning (the ability to follow instructions), and a model designed to paraphrase an input. 

Also: How to get started using ChatGPT

Despite unveiling its own AI-based tool, Brave doesn’t think LLMs will be useful for all search tasks.    

“Although the industry is generating much hype around AI, at Brave we are not yet convinced that LLMs can replace search as we know it. However, if used properly, these new models can help the user navigate results, which is the approach we follow with the Summarizer. Chat-like interfaces and oracle-based search remain unproven and, as of today, we remain skeptical that they’ll be useful for all search tasks.” 

While Brave thinks LLMs will not change search that much, the company reckons the browser is where assistant-like capabilities of LLMs will be “truly fruitful and revolutionary”. 


Image: Brave


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