Brave browser/search engine announces abandonment of calling Bing search results

The creator of JavaScript, Brendan Eich, established the Brave browser, which launched its own search engine, Brave Search, in 2021. Some of its search results were derived from Microsoft’s Bing API, effectively filling Brave Search with content extracted from Bing search results.

In the subsequent months, the contract between Brave and Microsoft neared expiration, leading Brave to discontinue its collaboration with Microsoft, concentrating instead on the development of its own search crawler, to avoid reliance on Microsoft, as experienced by DuckDuckGo.

Brave’s concerns primarily revolved around two aspects: first, the potential privacy issues associated with Bing API; second, the substantial price increase of Bing API, justified by Microsoft as necessary due to Bing Chat.

In a blog post, Brave voiced its apprehensions regarding the continuity of Bing services. Microsoft recently announced a significant price hike for its API, exerting unprecedented pressure on search engines that are partially or entirely dependent on the Bing Search API.

Upon the contract’s expiration, these search engines reliant on Bing API will experience the consequences of their dependence on Microsoft. DuckDuckGo, which previously boasted its privacy and non-tracking features, was discovered to transfer some data to Microsoft, as it was wholly reliant on Bing API and obliged to sign agreements with Microsoft. This revelation stirred considerable controversy, and DuckDuckGo eventually resolved the privacy issue, although the extent of compensation paid to Microsoft remains unknown.

Numerous search engines depend on Bing API for search services, and as Brave has pointed out, the expiration of contracts will reveal the severity of reliance on Microsoft. This will further confirm the prescience of Brave’s previous decision to develop its own search crawler and progressively reduce Bing API usage. Only 7% of Brave Search’s results originate from Bing API, so its removal upon contract expiration will not significantly impact the search engine. In the future, Brave’s proprietary crawler will continue to fill the void.