As we reported last year, Berlin-based Xayn has expanded its product offering, providing a desktop version of its ad-free, tailored, privacy-safe search as an alternative to tracking and profiling adtech giants like Google (in beta for now).
The desktop Xayn WebBeta is characterized as a “light web version” of the product with similar capabilities to the mobile app — albeit there are some differences, such as the inability to swipe on information to indicate interest/disinterest, as you can on Xayn’s mobile apps.
Xayn isn’t a browser in and of itself (though it can self-describe as one) since, in addition to private search, it also provides an in-app browsing experience by populating a feed with snippets of content structured in the style of a discovery/news feed.
When loading the software in a desktop browser (also true on mobile), you’ll probably notice a brief latency as Xayn’s AI finds out what to include in this feed. When you initially start the software, it appears to take a little longer because it’s beginning from scratch (localizing the content to your country), compared to subsequent visits when the AI will have your particular browsing signals to work with.
You can like or dislike a piece of material on the desktop Xayn by hovering the mouse over the green (to like) or pink (to dislike) bar, which appear on the left and right sides of the content box, respectively, and then clicking on the up (or down) thumb icon that appears. So liking is essentially a left-click.
If you don’t need another feed in your online life, you can turn off the discovery view and only have the search bar loaded.
By default, search results are displayed in a grid of rectangular content panes similar to the discovery feed. Which, for this information worker, is a touch low in information density…? By clicking on the brain icon at the top right, you can turn off Xayn’s learning AI at any time. If you want to browse ‘unwatched,’ that is, without the content you’re looking at being utilized as training material by the AI to determine what else you’ll be shown, you can do so (both for content in the feed and search results).
Another carrot to tempt customers is the absence of advertisements: Xayn is ad-free, which isn’t the case with other non-tracking private search engines like DuckDuckGo or Qwant, which rely on contextual adverts to fund their operations.
Its AI search algorithms are also open source, which is a departure from the search industry’s “standard.”