Regular Internet users in general may or may not be too concerned about their privacy, but the number of users who are getting tired of having their preferences and habits continuously tracked by others is increasingly growing up. If you are one of them, you should definitely give the Brave browser a try.
Brave is a free open source browser that is becoming more and more popular, mainly because it is faster and it provides better privacy than other browsers. It has being around for some time now though, and once I tried it I wondered why it is not more popular among the WordPress community yet, which made me feel like writing this post about it.
What makes the Brave browser different?
Privacy and Security
The first thing that makes the Brave browser stand out from the rest is that it comes with built-in shields to block website trackers and remove intrusive Internet advertisements. This browser also upgrades to HTTPS whenever possible to provide secure, encrypted communications when an ordinary browser would use an insecure connection.
But with Brave you have control over these shields, you can customize their settings on a per-site or browser-wide basis.
And you can also see how many ads and trackers are being blocked by Brave every day.
So with Brave you can browse confidently with default settings that block phishing, malware, and malvertising. But in case you need it, you will always have the freedom to decide whether to change the settings and to deactivate any of the shields.
Brave Software, Inc. (the company behind the Brave browser) estates that their servers neither see nor store your browsing data (so it stays private, on your devices, until you delete it). Which means that they will never sell your data to third parties, simply because they will not have your data to sell.
Apart from avoiding the annoyance of intrusive ads and improving your privacy, another advantage of blocking ads and trackers is that the browser does not need to download a lot of stuff, so it can serve web content faster.
Brave claims to load pages 2x faster than other browsers out of the box with nothing to install, learn or manage, that 2x speed improvement being for desktop devices and reaching up to 8x in the case of mobile.
Flexible and user-friendly
The Brave browser is primarily based on the open source Chromium, so from the user point of view it is not so different from other browsers (except, of course, for its unique features). And now even supports most of the available Chrome extensions.
Brave offers a nice and intuitive user interface with a very easy to use tab system for settings, bookmarks, help, etc. It also displays statistics about the content blocked by the browser over time.
You can use the Brave browser with many different search engines. By the way, if you haven´t tried DuckDuckGo for your searches yet, don´t hesitate. Brave plus DuckDuckGo are the perfect match to increase your privacy.
Brave Rewards System
Apart from all those privacy and security features we´ve seen, what makes the Brave browser really unique is its rewards system, based on their ‘Basic Attention Token’ (BAT), an open-source, decentralized platform based on Ethereum.
Brave works on a BAT reward system which can be used to reward people at both sides of the browsing experience:
- Users can reward content creators, either by manually sending them tips to support their work or by configuring Brave to automatically distribute their contributions based on how much time they spend on sites.
- Users can also be rewarded with BATs, for example for browsing the web in case they decide to view ads, which are presented separately from the web content and keep personal details private and anonymous. In other words, users can be paid for viewing ads, and not exactly a small part, since users receive 70% of the ad revenue.
Content creators can sign up to become a verified content creator on Brave Rewards in order to start collecting contributions. That way they can get paid directly by their audience for their content, instead of relying on other income sources such as ad revenue.
In case you´re curious, the current price of the BAT token can be checked here.
Who is behind the Brave browser?
Back in 2016, in his TEDx talk How to fix the web, Brendan Eich was already talking about the need of changing the current advertising systems and of a browser (such as Brave, although without naming it) capable of leading the way towards a new advertising and content creator/user rewarding model.
My personal experience with the Brave Browser
I downloaded and installed the Brave browser on my iMac a couple of weeks ago. Just a few days after that, it had already become my default browser not only there, but on my MacBook and on my phone as well. It is that impressive.
I imported all my browsing data from Firefox in just a couple of minutes, so the move from one browser to the other was really seamless. Brave provides a very easy way for importing your browsing history, favorites/bookmarks, saved passwords, stats and other data and settings from your current browser. And not only that, Brave now also offers a new feature that allows you to sync your preferences on all your devices: Brave Sync.
Brave Sync is currently in beta and therefore you will have the option to sync only your bookmarks across devices for the time being. Even so I think it is a feature worth to have, so I set it up on my devices and I found it´s nice and easy to get working. I can´t wait to see what else Brave Sync will bring in future versions. Brave Sync is available in Brave for Windows, macOS, Linux and Android, and iOS.
Regarding the privacy and security shields, this is what the statistics on my default Brave browser page say after 2 weeks:
As you can see, more than twelve thousand ads were blocked in just fourteen days, along with almost five hundred trackers. That is a lot more than one would predict, isn´t it?
The experience regarding privacy is really pleasant, and particularly welcome in the case of mobile devices, where those intrusive ads can eat up a considerable part of your screen.
I´ve also installed some Chrome extensions on my desktop Brave browser without any problem, and they work exactly as expected.
I found this browser very easy to set and use and notably faster than others. In other words: so far, I couldn´t be happier with the Brave browser.
So why don´t you give it a try? You won´t regret it. Because as Gabriel Weinberg (CEO of DuckDuckGo) says, “using the internet doesn’t have to feel like you’re being watched, listened to, and monitored”.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.