We review the independent browser created by co-founder of Mozilla and FireFox, Brendan Eich.
Brave is many things. First and foremost, it is an ultra-secure, open-source web-browser. And it’s a good one. It’s very similar in lots of respects to both Chrome, and Firefox, and is based on the Chromium/Blink engine.
It’s been well received critically. It’s easy to use, looks good, and the desktop version has as sleek and intuitive an interface as the mobile app version does. The browser also blocks tracking pixels and tracking cookies, and you also can set your default search engine to Duck Duck Go, instead of Alphabet’s standard engine.
The mind behind Brave though is one Brendan Eich, and he has a rather singular vision for what Brave could one day become, and his hopes that it could start a revolution in web browsing.
The best thing about Brave is that it has an ad-blocker built into it and it runs by default. As a browser it claims that as well as blocking intrusive web page adverts that chew up bandwidth and cause web page slow downs, it also blocks website trackers, and keeps users data more secure by sharing less of their web activity data.
Cool, totally ad-free then?
No. Brave does show ads, it’s just that they are pre-approved, there’s not that many of them, they don’t track your data, and they don’t slow down page loading times. Yes, of course you can also add ad blockers to pretty much any browser going, but it’s nice to have it built in.
While it started as something of a niche browser, Brave has gone from strength to strength since its launch last year. The Android app version also recently crossed the million download mark as well.
The Brave browser according to its design team, is between 1.5 to 4 times faster than its competitors because it gets rid of adverts and crucially, all the embedded tracking code. “Up to a whopping 60 per cent of page load time is caused by the underlying ad technology that loads into various places each time you hit a page on your favorite news site,” say Brave. “And 20 per cent of this is time spent on loading things that are trying to learn more about you.”
Brave is fast, and does the job. It’s easy to use and similar in most respects to most other browsers out there. Essentially, if you’ve used Chrome, FireFox, or Opera at any point in time in the last say, five years. You’ll instantly feel at home, which is nice.
A Brave New World then?
Recently, Brave has taken another new angle on how advertisements work, and this is where Eich hopes he can start a revolution.
The Brave Payments system, is a method whereby instead of making money from selling users web data or by utilizing intrusive advertising styles, websites can instead make money based on how often users visit their site, and by the length of time they stay there. Basically, Brave pays websites for being good, and having unique and interesting content.
Brave users can choose whether to donate or not and the accounting team at Brave, using a special algorithm redistribute that money to its approved publishers. It’s a nice idea, and there’s no obligation or demand to pay. Whether it works or not or has a future is another question.
But none of that last bit takes away from the fact that Brave is a fast, ad-light, and fully capable browser that helps protect users data from the wilds of the internet, and we can’t recommend it enough.