Browsers are one of the biggest, if not the biggest applications used on our day-to-day machines: laptops, desktops, tablets, phones, etc. They are lightweight, can temporarily run several other apps online without having to download heavy files and of course, give us a path to entertainment while being stuck at home.
Around 64% of users use Google Chrome, and it isn’t difficult to see why: Chrome being based on the Chromium engine gives it fantastic advantages over other popular browsers such as Safari or Firefox such as access to millions of useful and lightweight extensions. Even aesthetically, the UI looks beautiful. However, over the years, Chrome has fallen behind a lot, especially in terms of speed and efficiency.
Numerous memes have taken traction about how Chrome simply hogs resources, reducing mobile battery life by hours and feasting on ram. That’s where Brave comes in:
Brave has recently seen a rise in popularity because of how much they focus on privacy and eliminate needless cookies and ads. One of the main selling points is that Brave is also, like Chrome, based on Chromium, giving it access to millions of handy extensions via the Chrome Web Store.
With around 20 million active users, Brave is growing fast, becoming a strong and worthy competitor to Chrome.
Lets start with the speeds: TL;DR, Brave does not hog resources. Even while playing two 4k videos on YouTube, having an open tab of Krunker.io, a few Medium tabs and some day-to-day productivity sites open at the same time, Brave consumed a fifth of what Chrome did. That says for itself: Brave is efficient. I even saw a battery gain by 30 minutes on my PC, which doesn’t seem much, but again, for a heavy user and even for someone just wanting to finish that last minute e-mail from work, it might just be valuable enough. Also, the battery life gains does very from computer to computer and from use-case to use-case. The way it is able to achieve such results is because it is able to disable advertisements which naturally use up some resources and also, because it is simply well optimized.
Brave also focuses enormously on privacy, restricting access to unnecessary cookies for sites and there is even an option to disable online fingerprinting, which to the lay man, is just another way to reduce how much websites track you. The browser comes with a built-in ad blocker, which can again be paired with an extension such as u-block, to make surfing the web much less distracting. This also improves the experience of entertainment, such as watching YouTube for example, which has notoriously started adding rather long advertisements at the beginning of videos. Using Brave, it is possible to straight away skip these ads. Fortunately, you can also turn this off for certain creators to support them financially.
Switching browsers can seem tedious, especially if you’ve grown with one for a long time, however the experience of using Brave is remarkably similar to using Chrome. The only thing you need to do is log in to your respective accounts and that’s it. There is even a mobile application that can be paired via a QR code to start syncing. This is another privacy-focused technique as now even Brave by itself cannot see what you are doing on the web.
Other features such as bookmarks, history, incognito mode (although called private tab), and even aesthetics are very, very similar to Chrome. Yet again, there are some nice hidden features that ship with this underrated browser:
There is another kind of incognito search that pairs the browser with Tor’s servers. For those unaware of Tor, it is a software that enables anonymous communication, making it difficult for you to be tracked. Although Tor isn’t recommended for day to day search as it is too slow, it just is present for that one time you might want to use it: which still is a very rare case. However for those interested, pairing this with a VPN can basically make you untraceable.
Scrolling down on the Brave New tab page beings you to Brave Today, showing you some of the top news articles and others worthy reads personalized to your interest. While some may find this useful, for others, this might just way a distraction and so the option to turn this off is also present.
Although this isn’t a Brave-only feature, Brave does recommend using DuckDuckGo instead of Google as your major search engine. This might seem intimidating, but DuckDuckGo has caught up a lot with Google and also, like Brave, focuses on online privacy and anonymity.
Forced HTTPS and Fingerprinting:
Brave also allows you to force use HTTPS on websites instead of HTTP as it is more secure and better encrypts your information as it is passed over the internet. It even works on websites which do not by themselves provide an option to use this service. Another similar feature that I already mentioned was to disabling fingerprinting of websites. Fingerprinting is a rather invasive technique used by advertisements to identify your device information such as the OS or the screen resolution, for example.
Remember how Brave eliminate ads across several websites? Well, you now also have an option to bring some of these ads back in exchange of the cryptocurrency BAT. This is a wonderful way to passively earn, although very less, but earn regardless while browsing the internet. It also makes an anonymous to store your credits and you can make this local or sync it with services such as Ledger or Trevor.
Brave is completely free to download for Windows, Mac and Linux too. After spending about two months with this browser, it is quite easy to recommend it to almost anyone.