Brave responds to Bing and ChatGPT with a new “anonymous and secure” AI chatbot – The Verge

By Jess Weatherbed, a news writer focused on creative industries, computing, and internet culture. Jess started her career at TechRadar, covering news and hardware reviews.
Brave, the privacy-focused browser that automatically blocks unwanted ads and trackers, is rolling out Leo — a native AI assistant that the company claims provides “unparalleled privacy” compared to some other AI chatbot services. Following several months of testing, Leo is now available to use for free by all Brave desktop users running version 1.60 of the web browser. Leo is rolling out “in phases over the next few days” and will be available on Android and iOS “in the coming months.”
The core features of Leo aren’t too dissimilar from other AI chatbots like Bing Chat and Google Bard: it can translate, answer questions, summarize webpages, and generate new content. Brave says the benefits of Leo over those offerings are that it aligns with the company’s focus on privacy — conversations with the chatbot are not recorded or used to train AI models, and no login information is required to use it. As with other AI chatbots, however, Brave claims Leo’s outputs should be “treated with care for potential inaccuracies or errors.”
The standard version of Leo utilizes Meta’s Llama 2 large language model and is free to use by default. For users who prefer to access a different AI language model, Brave is also introducing Leo Premium, a $15 monthly subscription that features Anthropic’s AI assistant, Claude Instant — a faster and cheaper version of Anthropic’s Claude 2 large language model
“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, in a press release. “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.”
Brave says that additional models will be available to Leo Premium users alongside access to higher-quality conversations, priority queuing during peak usage, higher rate limits, and early access to new features. In a statement to The Verge, Brian Bondy, CTO and co-founder of Brave said that “Leo is built in a way that many different models can be plugged into the feature. We believe that more models will be offered over time and that users should be able to choose among them.”
Update, November 2nd 1.30PM ET: Updated to include a statement from Brave co-founder Brian Bondy regarding future AI models coming to Leo.
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