Tales from Kagi

Kagi search and Orion browser enter public beta

Web tracking and ads are becoming a personal and societal problem. Browsing and searching the web sensibly has become all but impossible. In response, today we are launching the public beta of two essential tools that allow you to fight back and make the web more humane for you and your family.

Ads dominate the entire web. Advertisers target you every living moment of your day making your web interactions a “dodge the ad” exercise. It’s also bad because advertisers know you, your location, and your habits and they use, sell and trade this information at a startling scale, without your permission [1].

The web services people use most (search, browser, email, messaging, entertainment, etc..) are almost exclusively built on ad-driven models that strip users of basic privacy and decency on the web. Not to mention social media which turned into a huge ad-supported tracking industry. In addition, the user experience is confusing to the user as the content that the user wants is interspaced with ads that seem to dominate the page. In a typical search screen on the desktop, over 30% of the space on the page is dominated by ads. On the mobile phone, the experience is even worse, there are no actual results above the fold usually.

Users are beginning to rebel against this model by using ad-blockers with the browsers (over 760 million devices have ad blockers installed [2]). More and more people are willing to pay for ad-free services (50 million pay for YouTube Premium [3], over 100 million Netflix users…). The ad-driven model spawns bad user experiences, deep tracking, and security holes for the users. This is especially pernicious with young kids, who are using these services with no controls.

At Kagi, we are saying enough with this nonsense.

Introducing Kagi search and Orion browser

I (Vladimir Prelovac, Founder) started this company when I saw my children starting using the web and realized how unsafe and bad an experience it was for them. All the ads and distractions were not only detrimental to their experience but also were influencing their behavior and habits from a very young age. No alternatives exist or the ones that I tried were not good enough. I have spent the last four years bootstrapping this project, with a small team and building tools to make using the web decent again. In the process, based on feedback we received, more users have been clamoring for these services. The mantra of no ads, no tracking, and no data retention model we have pioneered for browsing and search has resonated loudly with our users.

Orion browser and Kagi search engine are our first products that free the users from this tyranny of ads, privacy, and security chaos. They are bringing decency back to browsing and search, getting us a step closer to our mission of humanizing the web.

In driving this model, Kagi has also innovated in delivering more accurate and clear search results that have the users spending less time on their searches, and less time finding what they are looking for on the web. Orion has brought the best of all browsers in one product.

These services are made for those users who value their and their families’ (including kids) time, and privacy and want a better experience on the web.

Today Kagi search and Orion browser enter public beta.

This is a browser and a search tool for the web that frees you from all ads and protects your privacy and provides security. Our beta users report that search results delivered are in many cases superior to the best search engines out there. And at the time of writing this, the Orion browser is the fastest in the world [4]. We are committing to adding new capabilities to these services to further deliver superior experiences.

Kagi search comes as a free version with limited use; and an unlimited use paid option at $10 a month, both completely ad-free, tracking free, and with no search data being retained.

Orion browser is the fastest browser on the Mac (Linux version planned next) and is completely free, with Orion+ version available for $5/month or $50/year for those users who want to support its further development. It comes with best-in-class ad blocking built-in and there is no tracking ever. It has zero telemetry, meaning your private information never leaves the browser.

Meet Kagi search

If you are unfamiliar with Kagi search, check out the features. We’ll also let our users describe it:

I’ve been using kagi.com as my search engine for a while and it’s absolutely fantastic. Private, pretty, blazing fast, great results, and customizable. Will happily pay for the service when it officially launches. tweet
I signed up for kagi.com web search beta, and am very impressed. It will eventually be a paid service, and not ad supported. It allows search filters to be saved as a profile, a feature I never knew I needed so much! tweet
Trying out kagi.com as my default search engine, and I'm very impressed so far. Google has been returning mainly spam sites lately when searching for technical answers, while Kagi produces relevant results with no ads and a very clean UI. tweet
I love this search engine, it gives me the same feeling that Google did when it became a thing. Their business model after beta will be that users pay to use it, and it has no ads. This is a very encouraging sign, and personally I'll be willing to pay for quality search without ads. I hope enough other people feel the same to make Kagi profitable and functioning for years to come. HN comment
I've tried Kagi the last two or three weeks and the page speed is a nice bonus but the real advantage it has over DDG and Google is that it does find the pages I look for, rank them reasonably well and doesn't mix in pages that doesn't contain my search terms. It is just like being back in 2007 or something when Google worked this way and it is wonderful. . HN comment

Meet Orion browser

Check Orion features. Orion browser is getting users excited too:

This is my next main browser: a review of Orion full review by Riccardo Mori.

Orion Browser: A future best browser for the Mac? full review by Erin Smith.

I’ve been using it for a few months and i’d day it’s almost ready for public consumption. It’s essentially a better Safari, but (and this is what makes it the ONLY alternative to Firefox) with tree style tabs. Progress has been rapid and the interaction with the dev(s) has been great. I see a bright future ahead for this browser. HN comment
I'm in love with Orion Browser by Kagi. For speed, battery use and out-of-the-box privacy NOTHING comes close. tweet
If Chrome is freezing your Mac this summer try Orion browser: > >- Fast, snappy (Webkit) >- Chrome, Firefox extensions support >- Quickly import data from previous browser > > Literally had to restart my Mac multiple times a day. Now I can play multiple YT videos simultaneously tweet

Stability & Pricing

Both Kagi and Orion are beta products, which means there are still bugs to fix and features to develop. We will continue to iterate until our full vision of these products is realized and we hope to have your support along the way.

We decided to start charging for Kagi search while in beta status because the cost of beta usage has gone up dramatically and we are not able to sustain it. Also, we want to get some kind of a financial “airworthiness” signal and see how we stand with our positioning and outlook for sustainability.

As such, the price is experimental and may be subject to a change. If it does change, we will do our best to preserve the initial pricing option to everyone who becomes a paid member in the meantime.

Frequently asked questions

It is Kah-gee, and it means “key” in Japanese.

You should pay for your search engine to ensure that the incentives of the information provider are aligned with what’s best for you, not what’s best for the advertisers.

You can already become Orion+ member by supporting Orion development. We expect to have additional perks available in early June.

We care deeply about privacy. We will be good stewards of any personal information you share with us (we do not ask for any apart from your email address which can be any email really). We do not log or associate searches with an account, because we do not want or need to. More details in our privacy policy.

Kagi Inc. is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, USA with a truly international team (see “Acknowledgments” below)

Kagi is completely bootstrapped and will be completely supported by its users in the future.

Yes, check kagi.com/asssets.

Feel free to email vlad@kagi.com or tweet @vladquant.

Acknowledgments

The products we built would not be possible today without the efforts of a truly international team. From west to east, thanks to Raghu (providing great advice), Dylan (one man-army making Kagi maps as good as Apple maps), Seth (master of full-stack), Zac (making sure our most important stuff works as it should) all of them in USA, Sam (UK, rarely seen, rarely speaks but impactful when he does), Frances (Spain, helping us crawl the web efficiently), Nenad (design guru) and Tamara (created Kagi branding) both from Serbia, Michael (Israel, making Orion iOS possible), Georgee (Georgia, building almost entire front end by himself, several times), Bogdan (Russia, Orion design specialist), Dinesh (India, maestro of Orion), Boon (Malaysia, AI specialist), Liam (Australia, all things devops) and Yuma (Japan, Orion’s swift ninja).

In a rare appearance together, a few members of the Kagi team pose for a photo

Both Orion browser and Kagi search are community-driven efforts. Many thanks to the thousands of beta testers who helped guide us to the public beta.

In addition, we would like to extend special thanks to @morrick, @mjtsai, Fortrikka, eirk, gp, Cannabat, joystmp, TheOtherKai, adorabilis, avoozl, Shadowknight, cyzyvos for helping with Orion development.

And our gratitude goes out to Kai, Browsing6853, gesumin, ridley, TeMPOraL, connor, MalcolmCook, dantes for helping with Kagi.

Thank you for your wisdom, patience, and enduring the many bugs and crashes during the private beta. 🙏


[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-05-16/privacy-google-transmits-our-personal-data-70-billion-times-a-day

[2] https://www.statista.com/statistics/435252/adblock-users-worldwide/

[3] https://www.theverge.com/2021/9/2/22654318/youtube-50-million-premium-music-subscribers-streaming-services

[4] Testing conducted by Orion users in May 2022 using the Speedometer 2.0 performance benchmark achieved a score of 328. Tested with the latest Orion beta release with compatibility mode turned on and the latest stable versions of Safari, Chrome, and Firefox at the time of testing on MacBook Pro system with Apple M1 and macOS Monterey. The performance will vary based on usage, system configuration, network connection, and other factors.