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Brave – Privacy-focused Web Browser

Brave is an open-source Chromium-based, privacy-focused, and cross-platform web browser. It has almost all the features that popular web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox have with additional protection against ads, online surveillance, and more.

Privacy-respecting Web Browser

While Chrome and other web browsers do block harmful ads but do not worry about users’ privacy. Information such as online activity and behavior is sold to advertisers and other third-party companies. Brave stops it entirely by blocking intrusive ads & trackers that collect users’ data. As a result, users get safer and faster internet.

Brave claims to provide a faster Internet. It blocks all third-party scripts that are trying to collect user’s data on user’s bandwidth.

Because Brave blocks third party all of that out of the box, it’s considerably faster than other browsers. And that’s doubly true on slower or laggier connections where every bit counts, or older devices where every stray CPU cycle or bit of RAM rapidly adds up…

Brave team (read more)

Brave team did an interesting test to find which web browser performs better. In the test, it compared Brave with Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Edge on Windows, MacOS, and Android. In the test, it found that Brave opened popular sites 3 to 6 times faster, consumed about half system memory & power, and a third of data usage. You can read the full report in this article.

If you browse with Brave regularly, it shows you interesting information, the number of trackers brave blocked, internet bandwidth & time saved while browsing the Internet.

Being based on Chromium web browser, users can install all their favorite extensions. Brave team also checks extensions and warns users if they try to install an extension that they have not checked yet.

Brave web browser
Brave web browser

Tor support

It is one of my favorite features in Brave. Tor is already easy to install and set up but Brave takes it on a different level by including Tor in the Brave browser. Brave provides an option to launch a Tor browser window. It is just like opening another tab. Open Tor browser from the browser menu or right-click any link and open it in Tor.

Open Tor in Brave
Open Tor in Brave

Tor is at the bottom of almost every privacy-focused technology. It is free, open-source, and works almost on all types of devices. The way it works is when you visit a website in Tor, instead of directly hitting the requested server, it sends the request to three Tor clients aka. nodes and the third node sends the request to the server. The last node in the network is called the exit node because it exits the request outside the network. To receive response from the server, the entire process is repeated backward, the exit node receives the response from the server and sends it back to the previous node, and finally reaches the user.

Whereas other browsers only provide Incognito mode to browse privately from “other users on the device”, a built-in Tor browser allows users to browse the internet with complete privacy, not even the ISP knows what sites a user is accessing.

Tor is covered in detail in this article.

Open link with Tor
Open link with Tor
Tor browser in Brave
Tor browser in Brave

IPFS support out of the box

IPFS stands for Inter Planetary File System, is a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol to make the web faster and more open. HTTP(s) works on location-based addressing where a user sends requests to a location (server) for content such as a web page, video, and image. In case the server is not up, the request will fail and content can not be retrieved.

IPFS works differently. It works on content-based addressing where a user sends a request to the network for content and the network gives the file to the user. Each file on the IPFS network is saved with a unique fingerprint or hash to avoid deduplication or manipulation. Brave has built-in support for IPFS protocol. Users can type address with ipfs:// in the address bar and it’ll open the page.

Here is how IPFS address looks like –

https://bafybeiemxf5abjwjbikoz4mc3a3dla6ual3jsgpdr4cjr3oz3evfyavhwq.ipfs.dweb.link/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh.html

Earn Rewards & Support Creators

Brave rewards its users for watching relevant and privacy-respecting ads. From time to time users get a push notification and clicking on it takes users to the ad page. It is completely optional and you can choose to not get such notifications. If you click a notification, Brave reward you with BATs (Brave Attention Tokens) for each ad you watch that you can further use to support your favorite content creators.

The total reward amounts can be viewed in new tab.

Brave Reward
Brave Reward

Brave Sync

You can sync your data across multiple devices running Brave browsers. Brave sync works a little differently than Chrome but it’s safer. Data is encrypted locally and sent on the Brave-operated server. In Chrome, users are required to type their own passphrase to encrypt their data but in Brave, a Synch-Chain is configured using a 32-byte random seed generated during the initial sync setup. After that, the seed is encoded using BIP39. That’s it. This BIP39 seed acts like a password for syncing your data on new devices.

Whenever you install Brave on a new device, go to Settings > Sync, click I have a Sync Code. Enter the BIP39 seed and the sync will start.

Brave Sync Setup
Brave Sync Setup
Choose device type
Choose device type

Warning

Never share your BIP39 seed with anyone. It can allow people access and modify your synced data.

Learn more about Brave sync.

Why do we need a privacy-focused web browser?

On one hand, people who are well-aware of their digital lives are demanding more privacy-focused tools, on the other hand, a bigger portion of the society does not seem to care at all about their digital lives. Most people do not believe in online privacy. There have been written hundreds of articles on privacy trying to make people aware of their digital lives and the impact of their digital lives on their real life.

Today tech giants gather users’ information to make predictions of their next move. They try to guess what you’ll do next, what type of food you will love, what political ideology you hold, and how to manipulate your thinking in a way that’s more profitable for the company.

This topic is so vast that I can’t discuss it in this small article. But I suggest watching the following documentaries describing the importance of an individual’s privacy and its impact on society in real life.

Most of the people I have ever talked to and debated with on the privacy issue claimed the information collected online such as users’ location, device information, etc. is not important information. The following documentary by Al Jazeera describes how journalists and activists are facing real-life threats. After watching this documentary, you will know how dozens of journalists and activists are murdered each year around the globe using the same technology that we use every day.

Upcoming brave search

Brave is building its own search engine called Brave Search. Recently Brave announced the acquisition of TailCat, an open-source search engine. Building on top of TailCat, Brave Search is going to be a private search engine that will be integrated into Brave browser across devices.

Learn more about Brave Search.

Download Brave Browser

Install Brave Browser on Ubuntu

sudo apt install apt-transport-https curl gnupg
curl -s https://brave-browser-apt-release.s3.brave.com/brave-core.asc | sudo apt-key --keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/brave-browser-release.gpg add -
echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://brave-browser-apt-release.s3.brave.com/ stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/brave-browser-release.list
sudo apt update

sudo apt install brave-browser

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