I occasionally test my search page settings and censorship levels of search pages. I use startpage.com as my search engine and I have set it as my main search engine in the Brave settings. Additionally I have edited the default search settings by using the settings link provided by searchpage.com on their website. Those settings are saved in a cookie.
I noticed that I get different search results when I
- search using the omnibox or
- navigate to searchpage.com and then type in a search term in the provided search box.
Try this well known test search term for example “stormfront”. There is a neo-nazi website with this title. This search term is a good way to test geolocation based censorship by search engines. Many European countries have forced Google and other search engines to do not show certain results associated with this search term.
Regardless of my geolocated IP (which I can switch freely by using a VPN) the above mentioned neo-nazi website will not appear in the search results when I type in the search term into the omnibox.
If I navigate to startpage.com and type the search term into the search field the website will however show up in the results.
I can force the result to be shown by adding “&nj=0” behind the URL that is used when searching from the omnibox.
So my stipulation here is that Brave uses an URL to direct to startpage.com that has a certain structure (missing nj=0 for example) that causes this behavior. I don’t blame anyone here but would like point out this odd behavior.
I type the word stormfront into the omnibox. Brave calls the following URL: https://www.startpage.com/do/dsearch?query=stormfront&cat=web&pl=opensearch
Search results will not include the above mentioned website.
I navigate to startpage.com. I type the word stormfront into the search field. The omnibox will only show a masked URL: https://www.startpage.com/do/asearch which is not very helpful.
But search results will include the above mentioned website prominently.
Hitting the search settings link (at 1 o’clock in the drop-down menu) and saving the current settings will bring you back to the search results and reveal this URL: https://www.startpage.com/do/search?lui=english&language=english&cat=web&query=stormfront&nj=0&anticache=999461
Anticache=xxxxxx is only important for a small 1x1 counter gif. But nj=0 seems to do the job.
So I would like to know what URL Brave does use to redirect omnibox inputs to searchpage.com. From a user perspective it would be best if the user could alter this URL in the Brave settings.