A conservative CEO, pressured to resign from Mozilla for his views on marriage, has started a privacy-focused search engine that helps people to ‘ditch Big Tech’. Here is the story of Brendan Eich.
Brendan holds historically mainstream views about marriage and family.
Six years before his appointment, he made a donation of $1000 to an organisation promoting the Christian view of marriage. Because of this, activists boycotted the company and a ‘small number of’ employees associated with the Mozilla Foundation called for his resignation.
Ultimately, they got it. On 3 April 2014, Eich stepped down from his position as CEO.
At the time, even many supporters of gay marriage recognised that the situation was ridiculous. Andrew Sullivan, an openly gay man and a writer for the Daily Dish, wrote:
“The whole episode disgusts me — as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today — hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else — then count me out.”
Matt Galligan, the CEO of Circa, agreed:
Michael Barbaro, a New York Times journalist, tweeted:
“This is giant news, and makes me wonder, is opposition to gay marriage now a boardroom crime?”
Although Eich resigned, he didn’t give up. In 2015, he started a new company: Brave Software. In late 2019, Brave released its own anti-ad, privacy-centred internet browser as an alternative to Google Chrome, and in 2021 it released its own Google Search alternative, Brave Search.
Since its release, both Brave Browser and Brave Search have skyrocketed in popularity as an alternative to the Big Tech monopoly on information searches.
Considering the state of the Big Tech companies, it might be just in time.
Cancel Culture, Big Tech and the Internet
The Daily Declaration’s Kurt Mahlburg has documented hundreds of instances of Big Tech bias by the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter. While Mozilla was not involved in the pressure to oust its CEO, Eich’s removal from Mozilla emphasises the activist nature of many in the tech world and the increasing expectation that tech companies should advocate for woke causes.
For example, Google is known to suppress Christian, pro-life and conservative voices in its search engine, listing pro-life film Unplanned as propaganda, “fact-checking” conservative websites and blacklisting particular conservative or Christian content creators.
This kind of bias has been attested to by whistleblowers who used to work for the company.
Of course, this raises concerns for Christians seeking to find accurate information via the web. Can we trust any of the major search engines? The evidence seems to suggest that we can’t.
The Big Tech companies dominate search indexing (essentially, choosing what websites, articles and pages show up in search results).
Google Search alone enjoys over 91 per cent of the market share with Microsoft’s Bing the second most used at 3 per cent. China’s Baidu search captures three-quarters of the Chinese market and Russia’s Yandex powers just under half of Russian searches, but neither is used widely elsewhere. Yahoo! is the next largest search engine (with almost one and a half per cent market share) but it is dependent on Bing for its functionality — hardly an independent search engine.
Many freedom and privacy-focused users have turned to DuckDuckGo, a privacy-oriented search engine that now enjoys perhaps 50 million users. The issue with DuckDuckGo is that, while it does have its own index, it mainly relies on Microsoft Bing for its search results. Once again, this means that DuckDuckGo only has control over a small portion of the websites that it displays.
All told, the major tech companies have almost total control over what content does — and does not — show up when you make an internet search.
This is where Brave comes in.
Sick of Big Tech? Try Brave — a Privacy-Focused Google Alternative
Brave has two main products that replace Google’s control over your internet searches.
Firstly, there’s Brave Browser, available for MacOS, Windows, Linux, Android and iOS operating systems.
Brave Browser feels very similar to Google Chrome — and, as a bonus, Chrome extensions work on Brave — but Brave is faster, automatically blocks ads and trackers, and saves battery life.
If you are sick of functioning within Google’s controlled internet ecosystem (along with 64 per cent of other people), Brave Browser provides an easy, convenient and private alternative.
The three most popular browsers (Google Chrome, Apple’s Safari and Microsoft’s Edge) together account for 87.4 per cent of internet users. Brave Browser provides a way out.
Secondly, Brave Search has been quickly gaining popularity as an alternative to Google Search. While all the other alternatives to Google are either owned by Big Tech or are dependent on their search indexes (Yandex and Baidu excepted), Brave has developed its own index and has built its search engine around it.
This means that the sites you see were chosen by Brave’s algorithm, not by Google, Microsoft or any other Big Tech company.
“… Brave Search operates from an independent search index. An index is the list of billions of web pages, and some basic info about those pages, that search engines draw from to deliver search results. Most search engines — even supposedly “neutral” or “private” ones — don’t do this. They’re just façades that rely exclusively on third-parties for their results. If Big Tech suddenly ceased to function, those other search operators would go offline. Brave Search, meanwhile, would stay fully operational.” (Brave FAQ).
There are some exceptions: while Brave is still developing their index, they sometimes complement their results with results from other indexes.
As Brave explains:
“… for some queries, Brave can anonymously check our search results against third-party results, and mix them on the results page. This mixing is a means-to-an-end toward 100% independence. For full transparency and to measure Brave’s progress toward that goal, Brave provides a “Results independence” metric. This anonymous calculation shows the % of search results that come from Brave versus these third parties.”
When asked whether it filters, downranks or censors search results, Brave had this response:
“No, Brave Search does not filter, downrank, or censor search results. Nor will we change our search algorithm to increase or decrease the prominence of results in response to current events or anyone’s political, religious, ethical, or other beliefs. Brave Search — like Brave itself — is intended to be a user-first portal to the web, free of Big Tech’s manipulation.”
As of December 2021, the Brave ecosystem had over 50 million monthly users and 15.5 million daily users, a huge increase from just 11 million monthly users in 2019.
For Christians concerned about the rise of Big Tech and the ability to access information without the danger of censorship, Brave provides a brilliant solution.
Founded by a man who was cancelled for his beliefs, using Brave Browser and Brave Search is a way for Christians to opt out of the controlling cancel culture of Big Tech.