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Exclusive: Brave Browser Founder Warns Against AI and Google Search Model

Rachel Wolfson
Last updated: | 3 min read

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rewriting the internet. From ChatGPT to Microsoft’s new AI-powered assistant, Copilot, AI features are gaining traction to help users be more efficient.

Yet the downfalls associated with AI may outweigh the benefits. For instance, Google Search recently implemented “AI Overviews.” These AI-generated summaries now appear at the top of Google search results when a user asks a question.

While this may be helpful, Google Search has been criticized for providing nonsensical answers to certain questions. For example, AI Overviews has suggested eating pizza with glue, along with drinking urine to pass a kidney stone.

Brave Browser Founder Warns Against Google Search Model

Unsurprisingly, this has created controversy around Google and its search engine model that uses AI.

Brendan Eich, Founder of Brave Browser and creator of Javascript, told Cryptonews at Consensus 2024 that users should be fearful of Google and how it leverages AI for search results.

“You go into Google Search and it’s no longer a search engine but an answer engine,” said Eich. “The summary doesn’t have footnotes, the answer is supposed to be from the Oracle of Delphi where you have to trust it, and there are no links to check.”

Eich elaborated that he is fearful Google has adopted such a model because, “Google thinks it doesn’t need the web.” Yet he believes this isn’t the case.

“They (Google) still need human creativity and development of the web,” said Eich. “But the fear is that because they are doing answers with AI, that they are turning down the quality of their search engine. There is evidence for this, and I think over the last 10-12 years Google Search has only gotten worse.”

Providing Users Better Results with AI

Given the challenges associated with Google Search and its AI capabilities, Eich explained that Brave Browser aims to advance the original vision of the web. He noted this will be done by providing users with links and footnotes associated with Brave’s AI answers.

“We (Brave) will not give you an AI answer if you are doing something that clearly is a navigational search, or if you are trying to find a website. It’s more like when you’re asking a question that we will give you an answer with AI and will footnote it.”

This is important, as it’s been found that Google is getting AI training data from Reddit and other questionable sources. Per Eich:

“Google did something more recently where they were answering questions like ‘how to make cheese stay on pizza when cooking a pizza,’ and the answer harvested a post from Reddit 10 years ago that said ‘add Elmers glue or any non-toxic glue you like the taste of.’ Google ingested this into their large language model.”

Data Issues with Google and AI

In addition to challenges with Google’s AI search engine, Eich warns that Google may be abusing user data.

“Google’s terms for their Gemini AI says, ‘We reserve the right to log your prompts or questions for 3 years, I believe. OpenAI is 30-days. Now, they may not be mining your data, and they don’t necessarily train their models right away, but you don’t know. So if you are asking sensitive questions or prompts, you have to think twice,” Eich explained.

Eich added that Brave Browser doesn’t have this issue, noting that the browser’s large language models do not log user data.

“Our goal with Browser AI is that overtime you have privacy – strong privacy guarantees through cryptography. You want that ability to control where the data goes and the privacy of that data,” Eich remarked.

Support For Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Innovation

It’s notable that Eich has been a long-time supporter of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.

He launched the Basic Attention Token (BAT) in 2017 as the native token of the Brave web browser built on top of Ethereum (ETH). Eich further revealed that the Brave Wallet now supports both Solana and Bitcoin.

“We are doing other crypto deals to add yet more networks to the self-custody wallet. We are big believers in self-custody, as crypto has evolved,” he said.

Consensus 2024

Cryptonews reporters Rachel Wolfson and Matt Zahab were on the ground at Consensus 2024. Talking with industry leaders and pioneers, as well as prominent analysts, they bring you the latest updates from one of the biggest crypto events globally.