Brave enters AI arms race with “privacy-first” competitor

Even though some features are paywalled, Brave Leo is a breath of fresh air for the privacy community amid the current AI chaos.

Brave enters AI arms race with “privacy-first” competitor
Image credit: Brave

After three months of testing, Brave just announced the public release of their new privacy respecting AI, Leo. Leo is rolling out now on the desktop via Brave 1.60, and users can expect Android and iOS support in the "coming months."

Brave Leo is a browser-native AI assistant that can answer questions, generate content, translate webpages, and summarize websites or videos. It's free to use without needing an account, though some features are paywalled.

The free version uses Meta's Llama 2 language model. For $15 a month, users can also access Claude Instant, Anthropic’s faster and lighter model.

Claude produces longer and more structured responses. It also follows instructions better, and it features improvements in math, coding, multilingual support, and more.

In the future, premium users can expect additional model support, as well as access to higher rate limits, even higher-quality conversations, priority access during peak usage, and early access to new features.

Read also: Incogni 2023 Review: Is it worth it, and how does it compare to DeleteMe?

In my opinion, Leo's real competitive advantage is in its privacy initiative.

“AI can be a powerful tool, but it can also present growing concerns for data privacy and there’s a need for a privacy-first solution,” said Brian Bondy, CTO and co-founder of Brave. “Brave is committed to pairing AI with user privacy, and will provide our users with secure and personalized AI assistance where they already spend their time online.”

According to Brave, Leo chats are "private, anonymous, and secure." All requests are filtered through a reverse proxy, and Brave claim Leo won't record chats or use them for model training. As previously mentioned, users won't even need to create an account to use Leo's free features.

If you do opt for the premium account, Brave assigns Leo users "unlinkable tokens" to validate subscriptions. This implementation means Brave can't connect users and their purchase details with individual usage.

Whatever your feelings about the future of AI may be, it's still a breath of fresh air to hear a company take privacy seriously amid the noise. If Brave commit to their promises and follow through accordingly, we can consider Leo a big win for the privacy community.

You can read more about Brave Leo at the link below.