Brave’s AI assistant comes to its desktop browser

Brave joins the growing list of browsers that come with built-in generative AI assistants. The open source browser developer has started rolling out an update for Brave on desktop, which gives users access to its AI assistant Leo. Brave introduced Leo through its Nightly experimental channel back in August and has been testing it ever since. The assistant is based on the Llama 2 large language model, which Microsoft and Meta had developed together for commercial and research purposes.

Like other AI assistants, users can ask Leo to do various tasks, such as creating summaries of web pages and videos, translating and/or rewriting pages and even generating new content. The Llama 2-powered Leo is available for free to all users, but Brave has also introduced a paid version capable of “higher-quality conversations.” Leo Premium, as it’s called, is powered by Anthropic’s Claude Instant and can produce longer and more detailed responses. Users will have to pay $15 a month for it, but they will also get priority queuing during peak periods and early access to new features.

In its announcement, Brave Software emphasized that Leo preserves users’ privacy. The developer said that conversations with Leo are not persisted on its servers and that the assistant’s responses are immediately discarded and “not used for model training.” It also explained that it doesn’t collect IP addresses and retain personal data that can identify a user. Plus, users don’t even have to create an account to use Leo.

Back in July, Brave came under fire after it was accused of selling copyrighted information to train artificial intelligence models without consent. “Brave Search has the right to monetize and put terms of service on the output of its search-engine,” the company’s Chief of Search, Josep M. Pujol, said at the time in response to the allegations. “The ‘content of web page’ is always an excerpt that depends on the user’s query, always with attribution to the URL of the content. This is a standard and expected feature of all search engines.”

Brave is rolling out Leo on desktop in phases over the next few days. Those using the browser on their Android and iOS devices, however, will have to keep an eye out for its release on mobile in the coming months.

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Mariella Moon