Ever since Google Chrome came out, I’ve been a huge fan (I still am). This past week, however, one of our engineers was talking about a newer Web-Browser called “Brave” that he’s been using for the past six months and how much he likes it. The four things that appeal to him are:
- It has a built-in Ad-Blocker (Shields Up). This is self-explanatory – it blocks those annoying pop-ups from loading when you visit sites. Other browsers require you to install a 3rd party ad-blocker to gain this feature. And, because it’s built-in, this allows you to run the ad-blocker on your mobile device, something that is not so easy to get with other browsers.
- It’s built on the Chromium platform. This is the same source code that Google Chrome is built-on, so it’s mainstream
- It’s fast – everyone likes fast.
- It has a built-in Tor Browser option. A Tor Browser is a web browser that allows you to remain anonymous and protect your identity online by surfing across the Tor network versus the public Internet (a topic for another day).
Brave first hit the market in January 2016 so it’s been around for a few years, which in terms of today’s technology adoption rate means it’s more established than the date suggests.
From a first impressions perspective, I was impressed with its speed. I was also surprised at how much apparent garbage gets pushed on mainstream sites. The following screenshot I took shows just how many items get blocked from, ESPN.com:
So, why give it a go? If the speed and automatic ad-blocking doesn’t pique your interest, then consider this:
Brave does not need you to create a username and password, in fact it’s not even an option. The reason that Google Chrome (and other browsers) want you to have an account is so they can synchronize your browser (settings, favorites, bookmarks, history, etc.) across your other devices. The trade-off here is that your information gets stored on Google’s cloud servers which many argue has security and privacy implications.
The way that Brave accomplishes synchronization across multiple devices is via one-time verification codes. So, for example, if you save a bookmark in Brave on your laptop and you want to synchronize that with your mobile device, you would do that via a one-time verification code. The sync feature can be found under the settings menu at the top right of the browser.
Synchronization therefore goes from device-to-device versus device-to-cloud server-to-device, effectively eliminating ‘big brother’ from the equation.
While using Brave you may also see this message at the bottom of certain websites:
This means that the Brave Browser is blocking certain content. In some cases, the site may not work completely, with others you may simply have to live with this message while you are on that site. If the site stops working you may have to turn of the ‘Shields Up’ option for that site to allow the page to run.
So far, I’ve been impressed with Brave. I’m not ready to move everything over yet, but I’ll continue to compare it with Google Chrome and track it’s progress. Let me know if you decide to give it a go and what your experience is.