Freeware Fridays – Brave

Brave Logo
Hope you weren’t expecting a red headed princess…

 

Stagnation

New web browsers are always popping up. Very few of them seem to stick around or have any cool features that make them worth a damn. They certainly don’t have the momentum to take on the web browsing giants of Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer (which I suppose is going to be phased out for Edge soon). I’ve been switching back and forth between Chrome and Firefox for years now. Both offer an extensive list of add-ons or extensions that can customize the way you surf the web. Generally whenever one seems to get really buggy I’ll swap over to the other until the same thing happens. It’s safe to say that browsing the internet up to this point, for me at least, has stayed fairly consistent.

 

Cool
Pretty much sums it up.

 

A Brave New World

And then an interesting thing happened. A non techy person introduced me to a new web browser. I remotely accessed her machine to help her with whatever issue she had going on at the time and I saw a cool little logo on her desktop. A little logo named Brave. I asked her what it was (thinking maybe it was some type of PUP or Game or something), and she told me it was a web browser. So I fix her issue and immediately begin doing some research.

Wow! This web browser is backed by some serious folks! Brendan Eich, the developer of the Javascript programming language. Yan Zhu, who’s younger than me and done far more in her life than I think I ever will as a security engineer. And Marshall Rose who, I kid you not, has a wikipedia page that says he helped contribute to the freaking internet itself. That’s already a packed list and there are plenty of other extremely qualified developers working alongside them.

 

Explosion
I tried to find a picture to convey what a badass team this is, but I could only think “explosion” and after spending full MINUTES looking, landed on this. Don’t judge me.

 

So what’s so cool about it?

I’ll tell you my friends! A great many thing. First and foremost, in the same vein we wrote about yesterday, we have a bunch of built in privacy and ad-blocking features. Sweet features that allow you to compensate your favorite content creators while simultaneously blocking annoying ads. Built in passwords manager. And much more. Let’s break down each in it’s own section.

 

Adblocker and Privacy Built Right In.

So not only do you not have to go out of your way to install and manage an extension to block the ads on your browser, but you also get the benefits of privacy. Brave claims to not send tracking information like other web browsers do. Ever notice how when you type “cats in dresses” just one time in your browser you suddenly get a bunch of ads for miniature kitten mittens and hats to match? That’s no coincidence. Companies are paid big bucks to sell your browsing history so they can more easily tailor ads that are relevant to you so you buy buy buy more more more.

Further, Brave even tells you how much time they’re saving you by blocking all of these ads and trackers. When you open a new tab, they display a dashboard with all of the stats. Here’s mine after about 2 weeks of use on this PC.

 

Brave Adblocker
Holy shih tzu that’s a lot of ads blocked!

 

I like data and numbers, so this little dashboard is cool to me.

 

Brave Payments

Now for a really neat feature. Brave Payments is the method that allows you to browse your favorite websites, ad and guilt free. It allows you to anonymously send your favorite web pages money based on how often you access them. How does this work? It’s still in beta, but the general concept is that you fund a “wallet” with cryptocurrency (to keep it anonymous) and at a certain time each month, you contribute a payment to the websites you. Say you are willing to contribute $25 a month to your favorite websites. You’d load your wallet with the $25 and then after a month you’d be prompted with an alert that you’re contributions are about to go through. An algorithm divvies up your cash based the amount of times you’ve visited a site and how long you stayed there, but you can adjust this to your liking if you feel so inclined.

 

 

Syncing

Brave allows you to sync your browsing data across all of your desktops and laptops. Currently this is only available on standard desktops and not mobile devices, but it is being developed. So what makes this so special? Most web browsers have syncing capabilities, and they have it for all of your devices! Well Brave once again focuses big time on privacy. They encrypt all of your data during the syncing process. Their own servers don’t even have the ability to see your data. I imagine most of the other web browsers don’t even bother to wait for you to sync and sell your data to the highest bidder. It’s kind of nice knowing that even in the little details, Brave is looking at how they can protect their consumers data.

 

Built-In Password Manager

Before switching over to Brave, I used LastPass for just about everything. Yet again, another extension to manage. Yay! LastPass is great, don’t get me wrong. But Brave includes a password manager built-in. Less hassle and I’ve grown to like it. The only thing I’d wish for here is the random password generator LastPass has. Other than that, I can’t complain.

 

Final Thoughts?

Brave is pretty neat. It’s definitely my new favorite web browser. It’s not yet perfect. Certain websites don’t respond too well with the ad/tracking blockers and it can hiccup on sites that require certain scripts to run in the background legitimately. Luckily though, you can disable these with a few simple clicks of a button.

 

Brave Shields Off and On
Woah is that my article within the article. I now understand Inception.

 

I highly recommend downloading it and giving it a shot. I’ve linked it a few times now, but here is a direct link to their download page. Until next time internet fam.

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