Friday, March 3, 2023

Brave Search Summarizer

Brave (via MacRumors):

The 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. 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.

In addition, the provenance of original sources of data is cited at all times via links. This maintains the rightful attribution of information, and helps users assess the trustworthiness of the sources, both of which are needed to mitigate the authority biases of large language models.


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This is semi related to the article, but with the continual degradation of search engine results over the last decade, I'm still trying to find a search engine that doesn't suck now.

I started with Google, but a) I wanted to ditch them when I realized they removed the "don't" from their "don't be evil" MO, and b) their results started to suck and weren't useful anymore. Then I used DuckDuckGo for a while, and for a short time I felt it was actually better than Google (more a sign of how far Google had fallen), but a bit later its results became nigh unusable too. Then I switched to but it's essentially feeding me Google results it still constantly gives me pages that are completely irrelevant, spam, and/or don't actually contain my search terms at all.

How does Brave Search measure up? Are there any other search engines worth trying? Or is good internet search basically dead now?

Maybe I need a meta-search engine for finding other search engines.

@Bri I haven’t found a search engine (Brave and included) that matches the experience we had with search in the 2000s. But like some have suggested, I’ve started adding “Reddit” at the end of my search queries (at least, when I have a question I figure others have asked before me) and that always brings up measurably better results. So maybe Reddit is secretly the internet’s best search engine now.

> So maybe Reddit is secretly the internet’s best search engine now.

Gods help us!


I do the "reddit trick" too, and it does in fact yield better results. Google mostly shows links which are either sponsored or SEO, and to some extent all the other search engines employ the same tactics. Search has long suffered from enshittification.
On the plus side, this may be why new bing is more useful, it is trained on reddit and stack overflow data, which are currently robust to the enshittification process. On the downside, profitability per user is now a feedback for the LLM.

Help me understand how we can be critical of OpenAI in the previous post and seem to don’t mind when it comes to Brave.

It’s a shady cash grab after CEO Brendan Eich got fired from an executive position at the Mozilla Corporation for repeated instances of sexual harassment and coming out as a massive homophobe who was donating large amounts of money to lobby for gay marriage to be made illegal.

The privacy marketing is a scam.

They operate and monetize in all the same ways as Google: They are spying on us.

They do cryptocurrency on top of that.

How does this allow us to uncritically support their tech?

@Adrian I think the OpenAI article speaks for itself. They have completely changed from what they set out to do. To my knowledge, no one is even accusing Brave of doing that.

I haven’t heard anything about Eich and sexual harassment, and nothing came up when I just searched for that. Whereas, with Google’s Brin and Rubin…

I’m not sure why you think their privacy is not better than Google’s. Are they not doing what they say they do?

I don’t think anyone should uncritically support any tech. Is there anything to criticize about the Summarizer?

Brave search actually added Reddit results a few months ago, so for some of the other commenters here, it's worth considering. It does have that DDG feel from a few years ago when they were useful.

As for Summarizer, it isn't bad. It seems built more for people with zero knowledge on a topic rather than someone searching for that one bit of information. Might be promising, might not. No huge deal either way IMO.

I get Reddit results on Google nowadays. I think the bigger issue with Google are their stupid info chips and shopping carousel that shows things other than what I explicitly searched for.

As in, I sesrch for Fjällräven fleece and get cheap knock offs

@Michael I must admit that I was frustrated because of a pile of legacy JavaScript source code that I needed to study before starting a new project, fell for apparently unsubstantiated rumors spread in the infosec community, and used your wonderful site of all places to vent. I apologize to you.

There’s an awful lot of smoke around Brendan Eich and Brave but so far, from a technological point of view, it’s nothing that couldn’t be explained by the occasional lapse in judgement and the ill will of a few privacy fanatics that hold a commercial operation to unrealistic standards.

There are some comments on Hacker News where Brendan Eich defends himself against allegations of harassment. The comments he was replying to were deleted.

In hindsight I wished I had done a little more research before posting.

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