I’ve been using Chrome since around its release, but ditched it last year over privacy concerns. Google has a really big interest in having its eye on everything you do online so it can find a way to profit off of it, which was a little frustrating for me. After some experimenting, I ended up on Safari, which touted some pretty sweet privacy features, mostly in the area of blocking website’s attempts to follow you across the web. This worked out for a while, but I ended up having to keep Chrome installed, because a shockingly high amount of websites only bother checking to make sure things work in Chrome.
The whole experience of trying to avoid Chrome has definitely been frustrating, but I’ve stuck to it mostly out of spite. A month or so ago, I discovered Brave, and have been loving it. It works and feels like Chrome, but protects your privacy like Firefox or Safari. Beyond that, it even has some decent ad-blocking features and an interesting method for ensuring creators continue to get paid.
You should at least check it out, so here’s a few highlights to make it easier on you
Chromium is a free, open source browser from Google itself 😱
Chromium shouldn’t be confused with Chrome, which is one of Google’s most impressive pieces of spyware. Chromium is a bare-bones web browser that anyone can expand upon. Google uses Chromium as the basis for Chrome, and Brave uses Chromium as the basis for itself!
Sharing the engine with Chromium provides a ton of benefits. Let’s be honest — most of the world uses Chrome as it’s default browser. It’s gone so far as to become a meme that Safari/Edge are only used to install Chrome and then never touched again. The downside to this is that people who build websites, tend to make them work best on Chrome. I’ve had plenty of problems with websites in Safari, including Youtube and Netflix 😒
Because Brave is built on the same skeleton that Chrome is, websites work as if you were using Chrome. Even further, you can use Chrome Extensions!
Ad blocking is the thing that brings most people to the Brave browser. Brave blocks harmful ads that try to identify and track you across the internet. Yes you’ll still see ads, but you can expect them to be fewer and further between. When you do see an ad, it is far less likely to be trying to identify you at all costs.
If you want, you can also opt-in to Brave’s custom ads. The company recognizes that advertisements enable creators to make content for everyone to enjoy, and just making advertisements vanish isn’t fair to everyone. You can choose to see occasional ads served up by the browser itself, and they will distribute a portion of the earnings from those advertisements to participating creators across the web. So if you spend all your time reading the New York Times, the idea is for that site to get all of the revenue generated by the advertisements you see.
Beyond ad-blocking, Brave also blocks many attempts by websites to identify and exploit you. It starts by blocking fingerprinting techniques, which is where a website will collect as much information about you as possible, that it can identify your return visits even if you delete cookies and use a VPN. Brave goes one step further and stops cross-site cookies, which are yet another attempt for a website to observe your behavior after you leave the website 😒
Private Browsing With Tor
If you want, Brave will let you browse using Tor, which is an open-source system for anonymous communication. In short, it works by routing requests through multiple servers and encrypting it each step of the way. Today it is maintained by its own non-profit, which states the following about it’s use ->
We, at the Tor Project, fight every day for everyone to have private access to an uncensored internet, and Tor has become the world’s strongest tool for privacy and freedom online.
Anyways, all that to say, Brave’s private browsing is a whole lot more private than Chrome’s “private” browsing. I’ve not actually used this feature though, as routing things through Tor slows your experience substantially.
Brave is a browser that feels and acts a lot like Chrome, but lets you step outside the Google ecosystem and retake control over some of your digital footprint.
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