We spoke with Jeremy Tillman, President of Ghostery, about how the cooperation with Cliqz has changed and what impact the Corona crisis has had on privacy on the Internet.
It’s been almost a year since Burda’s Cliqz search technology (now known as Tailcat) and its team of developers became part of the US company Brave Software. But if you thought that would be the end of Cliqz’s success and Burda’s fight for an open internet in which people have total control of their data, then you were wrong. In this interview, Jean-Paul Schmetz, founder of Cliqz, explains why the search technology is crucial to Brave’s success, how his team continues to use research to support the fight against Google, and why we should all surf the web with a secure browser.
When the pandemic began in 2020, we realised that despite the many promises of recent years, the Bavarian, German and European governments wouldn’t support us in further developing Cliqz. We decided to close the Cliqz user products (particularly the Cliqz browser) but continue operating Ghostery products (10 million active users) and maintain the search team. We were then contacted by around a dozen companies wanting to take over our search engine. Six months later, we had two candidates fighting over Tailcat (the codename for our search engine). In the end, Brave won the bid and Burda received not only the purchase price, but also shares in Brave. Thanks to Cliqz, Burda is now a Brave shareholder.
Brave is a Chromium-based browser that focuses on data protection and, like Cliqz, fights for an open internet that doesn’t spy on users. So I’m delighted that Brave has proved a great success and now boasts over 50 million monthly users – every day, the browser is used by more than 16 million people and installed 360,000 times. Brave Search is hitting 10 million search requests per day and growing incredibly quickly (27% per month!). Duck Duck Go, one of its rivals, took five years to reach the level that Brave has achieved in 6 months. This is an emphatic endorsement of the global movement led by users seeking alternatives to the surveillance industry.
Brave’s success is very much determined by Cliqz because it has been fully integrated into the Brave search engine and is continuously developed by former Cliqz employees. I’m proud that our team and our product live on in Brave and help users to surf the internet securely every single day.
In addition to our search technology, which has been fully integrated into the Brave search engine, we supply Brave and Neeva – a search engine developed by several former Google managers that competes directly with Google – with key research data to further develop their products. As before, Burda is playing its part in the fight for greater online privacy.
At Ghostery, we are still removing web trackers for almost 10 million users, and Google is by far the biggest tracker. We also continue to measure the extent of online tracking which, unfortunately, continues to increase. Take a look at this link. I can only recommend downloading the Brave or Ghostery browser to minimise online tracking. If you use Safari on your iPhone, you should definitely download the Ghostery add-on to prevent tracking here too. Chrome and Edge should always be used with Ghostery as well, as this is the only way to surf securely.