Artificial intelligence (AI) is all the rage these days, and a bunch of Silicon Valley heavyweights are vying with OpenAI’s ChatGPT to shake up the tech landscape. Brave is the latest contender to take a swing, and the privacy-focused company just announced its own AI-based tool for its browser.
Called Summarizer, the new feature will try to give you a quick answer to anything you ask it. It does this by taking information from various sources and putting it into a single cohesive block of text at the top of your search results.
Google currently has a similar feature on the search results page, but the difference here is that Google gets its summary text from a single source it deems trustworthy, while Brave aggregates multiple sources and uses smart AI to sort them out. merge into a unified response.
Brave’s developer explains that Summarizer is not a genetic AI, which differentiates it from things like ChatGPT. The company states that AI generators have their problems and can “spew out unsubstantiated claims,” which would obviously be a problem for a tool designed to generate reliable summaries and reliable answers. Microsoft’s ChatGPT plugin to Bing behaved particularly badly in this regard.
Instead, Brave’s Summarizer is powered by large language models (LLMs) that were trained to “process multiple sources of information found on the web.” This not only helps with accuracy, but its results are also more concise.
A different AI future?
Below the summary text is a link to the cited sources, so you can always check the original text if you want more content. Brave says these links will always be present to ensure answers are always attributed correctly and so users can “assess the credibility of sources.” This should help “mitigate the authority biases of large language models,” Brave argues.
In addition to the main summaries, the new feature will begin to replace the description text that appears under the heading of each search result. Previously, this text was a snippet taken from somewhere within each search result. Now, it will be a summary of all AI-generated text.
The Brave developer states that he is not yet convinced that LLMs can completely replace traditional search, but rather believes that they could help users find their way around search results. When LLMs are applied to other browser features, Brave says, the results could be “really fruitful and revolutionary.”
As it’s still early in Summarizer’s development, Brave says the feature could cause AI “hallucinations” that merge irrelevant text into passages and could also end up producing false or offensive text. The company is working to improve Summarizer based on user feedback and hopes to eliminate these kinks.
Brave’s Summarizer tool is available now, but if you don’t like the sound of it, you can turn it off in the app’s settings. We’ll have to see if it can provide a credible alternative to ChatGPT and help shape the future of search.