Brave is a web browser based on the Chromium web-engine influenced by Google
The browser is surprisingly free/libre software: licensed under the Mozilla Public license just like Firefox.
Before you @ me, this is not like the many, many one sided posts about Brave with a mountain load of FUD. If you’ve been living under a rock — Brave Software (the company behind the browser) takes vanilla Chromium, adds their patches, including privacy-protections and slap a ton of branding. Check their GitHub wiki they are very open about it.
It’s the perfect drop-in replacement for: Chrome
Literally everything works, their team does all the heavy lifting, hot-fixing, catching up with the latest chromium release, auto-updates, and neutering some of Google’s tracking. Brave blocks ads & 3rd party-cookies by default, unlike Firefox. It’s the perfect browser for someone who’s using Chrome all the time and doesn’t have time to bother about configuring things manually with every new update.
But beware, Brave is not a browser company
Brave is an ‘advertising company’
The browser is used as a gateway drug to push their BAT crypto-altcoin. Brave Rewards is a way to earn BAT: by consuming ads pushed to you directly via the Brave browser. By default they take: a 30% cut of the money earned by the ads. They whitelist their own ads in the built-in Brave ad-blocker.
Ever since the first launch, the browser nudges you to sign up for their ‘Rewards Program’
Just look at the number of affiliate integrations, tooltips for BAT and other annoying features on the homepage. The average user probably doesn’t have time to turn off all these features, so if you ever have to install Brave for someone like your grandma, checkout my video on how to disable all this bloat.
Why do Brave-rewards suck?
The user does not have any way of choosing how much to give the Brave team. I can not choose 10% or 0% it is locked to 30%, they take a cut for every single ad I see. Using Brave Rewards is obviously opt-in; but they ‘want you to say yes’ and keep nagging you.
But Brave fights against Goolag
Eh, kinda true: Brave is essentially blocking Google’s ads and replacing it with Brave-Rewards and their own integrated ad-platform. You’re not really fighting to make a better web for users: a web without ads and JS bloat!
Brave cares about advertisers, over users
Brave, unlike Firefox blocks Google’s, Facebook’s and other major advertising networks, this is a big brain move & allows them to promote their own BAT ads without worrying about other competing ad-networks. I don’t know if this is ethical; but it’s better than Firefox which just serves as a puppet for Google.
An advertising company like Brave, showcases 2 different themes for their target audiences
When you have a paying customer (the advertiser) — making a privacy-first browser isn’t your main goal, it’s a side effect of what they truly want to achieve. i.e. push BAT to more users and block competing ad-networks. (Google’s/Facebook’s/Microsoft’s)
These slides are from their website and just look at the contrast between the homepage for normal users and the ad-investors page 👀
So: Use Firefox?
Nope, same thing. Firefox isn’t standing up for their users. Instead, Mozilla is to leverage every bit of screen real estate to push sponsored content on the homepage. Promoting Mozilla VPN, Pocket, sponsored pinned search sites (Amazon), etc. They even tried to copy Brave’s business model by asking users to subscribe to a service which would pay website depending upon how much time you spent on it. Sounds like Brave Rewards but without crypto.
Firefox isn’t brave enough
(multiple-layers of bad puns today) sorry 😂
Mozilla’s model is worse than Brave. By default Firefox does not block all ads or have an agenda to build — ‘real, competing products against Google’. If you’d look closely they endorse and use Google’s proprietary G-Suite tools to build a ‘free/open’ web browser. Plus the $500mil search engine deal that keeps them going.
There are ways of hardening Firefox using
about:config or using a fork like LibreWolf which does the job for you with each update - but that’s only for geeky users like us. Not for your grandma. I’d rather install Brave and harden it with a few tweaks.
Mozilla is digging their own grave. Brave at least blocks Google’s ads and uses Chromium against Google. I really thought Mozilla could have a comeback but they had other plans, Rust in Peace Servo.
All 3 browser ecosystems suck
However you want to twist it, we don’t have an indie, web-browser that can perform well in the modern web. The ’next-big browser’ should be made by a dedicated team of hackers: not a company trying to pump up their crypto coin!
All 3 major-browsers are ‘owned’ (influenced) by Google: rendering engine (Chromium/Blink) / funding (Mozilla/Firefox)
If I would build one, I’ll bundle uBlock Origin by default, no DRM, no anti-features & keep it stupid and simple (KISS). This is weirdly.. on my bucketlist, I currently don’t have the resources but want to build something like this in my lifetime. If you know of any similar projects please try to ping me.
> To wrap it up
Brave is FOSS, patched Chrome kept up-to-date for your convenience. It has better privacy protections by default. All kinds of privacy/fingerprinting protections are a side-effect of what Brave truly serves as — a gateway to getting users hooked on BAT and the Brave ecosystem.
But as a project ahem (advertising-company) that doesn’t dare to improve the web (building an independent web-engine) Brave is not what it seems like and shouldn’t need to be praised. We have a long, long way before advertising companies try to ‘fix the internet’.
So what browser do I use: Tor Browser for real privacy, I have other FOSS browsers like Brave/LibreWolf/Chromium for normal use. Follow the principle of compartmentalization for each browser to better suit your needs when Tor doesn’t work.