A Brave World — A Browser for Now
Brave is a web browser that I heard about when it was released a few years ago but I dismissed it at the time. I was using Chrome daily and didn’t see the appeal of another browser at the time, would it stick around or would it be a short-lived endeavour? Brave was released in 2016 and it has survived into 2019, so how does it stack up today against some of the more well-known browsers I use daily like Chrome, Firefox and Safari?
Brave is everything you’ve come to expect of a modern browser and doesn’t try to do anything too new. It is based on Chromium, (used by Google Chrome), and therefore shares a common interface with Chrome, this means it’s almost identical for a majority of core features and it doesn’t try to deviate from too much in terms of the browsers visual design.
If Brave is just a reskinned Google Chrome then what makes it different?
Brave’s unique value proposition is that it is more private, secure and faster than alternatives. With digital privacy becoming a bigger part of daily life, Brave is trying to be at the forefront of the privacy-aware mindshare and is rubbing shoulders with the likes of Firefox as a brand which promotes the importance of privacy and security on the web. Brave’s mantra manifests itself in the Brave browser by blocking ads, blocking trackers, and preferring secure connections whenever possible. This is not necessarily new, Firefox and Chrome have extensions that can perform these same tasks but Brave does this by default and this is what really sets it apart from the other contenders.
There is also an opt-in feature, which I have yet to use, that shows ads which give you tokens that can then be used to reward sites that you ‘support’. This seems to be a controversial feature as it seems to replace ads and acts as an intermediary where ad revenue can then be redeemed and distributed by the user. I don’t think I’ll try this feature just yet, I’ll wait until the dust settles but I suspect this will become a major part of Brave if it proves to be successful and well received by users and content publishers alike.
By blocking ads, Brave loads sites quickly because it doesn’t have the additional load that ads put on a site. It’s entirely possible to get many of the benefits of Brave by using extensions in the web browser you currently use. Ad blockers and tracking protection have become an integral part of setting up your browser for any web savvy user but Brave seems to be trying to offer this experience without any setup.
The default experience is compelling, it is a focused product which is aimed at providing a great experience without any additional setup. For that it should be applauded, it may not be the essential browser but it makes a compelling argument for becoming your champion of privacy, security and speed in a familiar and easy to use package.