Berlin-based Ecosia, the green search engine that uses its advertising revenues to plant trees in areas affected by deforestation, is now integrated as a secondary search engine option in Brave, a US-based fast, privacy-oriented browser. Ecosia is available to Brave’s more than 24 million monthly active users on desktop and mobile. The partnership, announced on World Privacy Day, underlines both companies’ shared commitment to advance the cause of ethical online browsing.
The inclusion of Ecosia in Brave marks the collaboration between tech companies of a new era, pushing for ethical tech across the whole privacy stack – from VPN, to browser and search engine, to a full suite of privacy tools. The ultimate goal is to put users in charge of their browsing experience and to provide them with a holistic digital environment that does not require tradeoffs between privacy and participation in the digital economy.
Brave and Ecosia also believe that privacy-respecting services can actually provide a better user experience. Due to its ability to block intrusive ads and trackers, Brave allows users to browse three times faster, while consuming 35% less battery power, compared to other major browsers. Brave also rewards users for their attention with an opt-in, privacy-respecting ad platform, which enables users to support their favourite online creators.
While environmental justice has led Ecosia’s mission, privacy has always been a central pillar of Ecosia’s ethos. Searches are never stored permanently, no personal profiles are created based on search history, and all searches are securely encrypted and anonymised within days. Ecosia also never uses external tracking tools and never sells data to advertisers. The company has planted over 118 million trees since it was founded in 2009, and looks forward to seeing this increase thanks to the new partnership.
Users of the Brave browser can go to “Settings” or “Preferences” in the pull-down menu, click on search engine, and select Ecosia from the drop-down menu. For new users, switching to Brave is easy, as bookmarks and Chrome extensions can be transferred across with just a few clicks. Ecosia is the first addition to the Brave default list since Startpage was added late last year, and will make it easier than ever for people to make pro-privacy and better environmental choices when browsing online.
Ruby Au, Country Manager North America for Ecosia, said: “Online privacy is a basic human right and not something we should have to fight for – but this isn’t the case. The same logic that would have a company choose to sell user data at the cost of privacy is the same logic that would have a company extort profits at the cost of the climate. We want to work with partners that change that narrative. We are really excited to establish this new partnership with Brave, which allows us to promote ethical tech together, and encourage users to be part of a better internet.”
Jan Piotrowski, Vice President of Business Development at Brave, added: “Brave’s mission is to put the user first in every way, and we’re thrilled to include Ecosia as a default search engine option to combine privacy-respecting browsing and searching. Putting users in charge of their data with privacy-preserving tools is a key step in countering the surveillance economy and taking back control.”
The partnership will initially roll out across the following markets: Germany, United States, Switzerland, Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Ireland, Australia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Portugal, Canada, and Finland.
Founded in 2009, Ecosia dedicates over 80% of its profits to tree planting around the globe. To date it has planted in over 25 countries, working with local organisations and communities to protect biodiversity and support livelihoods. A pioneer in the tech space, the ethical search engine is aiming to become a vehicle for systemic change, and to lead by example, showing that there is a better way to do business. Ecosia has been vocal against anti-competitive behaviour in the search engine market and pushes for greater transparency across the board, publishing its own financial reports publicly every month.