These days, web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari are indispensable tools. We use them to check email, watch videos, read news articles and blog posts, buy stuff, post on social media, and perform a host of other activities. Unfortunately, web browsers can be easily compromised by ads, popups, and tracking code that not only infringe on our privacy, but also slow down websites and lead to a less-than-optimal online experience.
All of the major browsers have announced efforts to block tracking code, etc. But the browser that’s arguably most aggressive in this area is Brave, an open source browser that was officially released today after a lengthy beta period.
By default, Brave strips all ads, scripts, and tracking code from the pages you visit (which, among other things, means no more visiting a website and then suddenly seeing related ads on Facebook). Instead, you can support the sites you want, not by sacrificing your privacy or personal data, but through Brave’s own rewards system. And this stripping of obnoxious code can, according to Brave, increase the speeds with which websites load by as much as 6 times. (I haven’t done any scientific speed tests myself, but in my experience, Brave never feels anything but snappy.)
I’ve been using Brave alongside Chrome (my main browser for years) for several months now, and I’ve never felt like my browsing has been compromised or hindered in any way. That’s not all that surprising given that Brave is built on Chromium, the same open source engine that Chrome uses. (Among other things, this means Brave can run a lot of the same third-party extensions that are available to Chrome.)
I’ve encountered the occasional site that doesn’t load properly, but that’s usually due to Brave’s default restrictions rejecting a necessary script or two — which I can then tell Brave to load (if I choose to).
Bottom line: I still use Chrome for development purposes, but for regular and daily browsing, I’ve basically switched to Brave full-time, and I don’t think I’ll ever switch back.
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.