Presearch's new browser extension for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Brave, launched Thursday, now supports more than one million registered users and 250,000 monthly active users on the search engine.
The extension -- which connects users to the Presearch engine, along with more than 80 resources like Google, Amazon and Facebook -- enables anyone to search privately, without sharing or compromising their personal data.
And at the end of the search, Presearch rewards users with its own cryptocurrency token, PRE, for searching through its website or browser extension, and for referring new users.
Company developers created the extension based on thousands of user requests. They wanted the option to search through the extension from the regular browser bar.
“The extension itself really just allows users to set the site as their default search engine,” Presearch founder Colin Pape wrote in an email to Search Insider. “It isn’t really anything special, though the functionality is really valuable to our community and ecosystem.”
The real work was in figuring out ways to identify abusive behavior, where people are just doing bogus searches to try to collect tokens, while still respecting other’s privacy, he wrote.
Developing ways to monetize a search so it covers the cost of the incentive received with a token while allowing users to pass right through to a third-party service was a little more complicated.
“We are in the early days and still learning, but we have some really great early results, a supportive community and plenty of feedback,” he wrote.
Similar to Microsoft Bing, users earn credit with each search query. At Presearch they earn one-quarter of a token, up to 32 times per day. The company wants to incentivize people to break the Google habit by rewarding them when they switch.
Tokens can be used for advertising, sold to potential advertisers, and converted to other cryptocurrencies. Soon those who earn tokens can use the credit to make purchases at participating online stores.