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Brave Browser Review - Secure, Fast & Private Web Browser

Introducing the New Brave Browser

The brave browser is a new alternative for Chrome developed by a lot of the folks who are involved with the IPFS -- interplanetary file system, which I will cover in a future post. Here is a quick quote off of their website

Brave is on a mission to fix the web by giving users a safer, faster and better browsing experience while growing support for content creators through a new attention-based ecosystem of rewards.

For the last few months I tried out Microsoft Edge on my workstation which I recently migrated to Windows 10 from OSX 10 when big sur came out -- which I currently refuse to upgrade due to the giant laundry list of unpatched security vulnerabilities within its XCode and other dev tools. Now Edge is a great browser, it feels and works just like chrome. A great Chrome clone, however its slow. Its at least two if not three times as slower then chrome to load simple web searches or YouTube videos. At least 80% of my web experience consists of googling and listening to music, podcasts, or .edu courses on YouTube, so like most people want this to be as fast as a possible experience.

So today I am downloading and trying out brave to give it a review. Out of the box on the first time run its home page tab gives an overview of how it has built in AdBlock and tracking cookie blocking. Very cool. One less thing to have to download and install. Another thing to note that it has a rewards system which looks like a Bing clone. It looks like you receive rewards when you electively choose to view private ads. Now I am not one to like to watch any sort of advertisement, unlike my mom who like a lot of Americans enjoy watching commercials (weird I know), so really I don't understand this business model but whatever.

It looks like when you earn rewards you can get tokens which can be used to tip content creators. That seems cool, but curious how well they will keep the elective ads. Integrating Patreon directly into the browser is actually a cool idea the more I think about it. I wonder how this will impact Patreon's business.

After a bit more investigation I discovered that the tokens are BAT, basic authentication tokens which to quote

BAT – the crypto asset for the new Internet economy

The $330 billion digital advertising industry is failing users, publishers and advertisers. The Basic Attention Token solves the endemic inefficiencies and privacy violations hobbling the digital ad industry.

Going to creators.brave.com lets you create a content creator account which I imagine you can use to start allowing people to give you tokens when they view your content in the browser or something. Cool idea, definitely need to research this in the near future to see about distributing some of my music and art this way.

Now the process of reauthenticating with my titan 2FA key begins ~ yay. I do have to say that it does feel a lot snapper to load screens then Edge or Chrome. At this time I went ahead and created a creators account, why not try what this new stuff is all about.

The default home screen looks like this.
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The search bar that doesn't scale to my entire width seems like that will be annoying as I like to read long URL's for my development work. When you scroll down on the home page it looks like you get a recent feed of trending topics by creators. Their is mention you can customize it. I definitely sense elements of Facebook feeds on this minus all of those selfie pictures.

Its browser menu is identical to edge and chrome which is very familiar to me. One thing I notice is when I am in chrome or edge and type you into the search bar and hit enter I am directly taken to YouTube and not a search of YouTube. These shortcut commands are nice, despite not being able to easily create your own in chrome. hopefully this will be a feature added into brave.

One interesting thing I notice when playing the same YouTube video is that it sounds better on brave then on edge when comparing the two. It sounds like the sample rate is higher within brave then with chrome. I suppose this is possible if they use different code libraries for audio.

Brave also looks like it has a menu item for crypto wallets, I got some coins Keybase which I do not really use anymore, maybe this will be a good experiment to convert those over into brave. After looking into this feature a bit more I discovered you can associate local wallets or use ledger or Trezor. Very cool. In order to be able to trade BAT between other users and bitcoin for example, you need to have at least 25 BAT. wow thats either watching like 10k ads or buying some BAT with my Ethereum. A very interesting business model to earn income. I like the flexibility of buying into the system if I want, or just participate.

Brave uses Uphold to manage its crypto stuff. Probably should create an account now before I forget and earn some of these juice BAT coins. During account creation I need to verify my legal personal information. Probably a good idea to note if you think about doing illegal stuff online. For that I would recommend Tor, but even that is trackable. Just be good. Looks like you need to verify your identity to exchange fiat money within your country. This is pretty standard stuff, which I have the option to do when I want to withdraw from my account. You can fund your account with any of the common crypto's. Ill transfer my money over from Keybase later. I don't feel like getting license out and jumping through those mobile upload hoops.

I personally use dark theme for everything on my machines. It saves a energy on my monitors and I find a bit easier on the eyes. Brave is white by default, which is getting me a little bit to get used to until I find the option to switch back to dark. I do have to say their layout for settings is much nicer then chrome or edge.

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This is a good time to go through and set my preferences and make the browser default to see how it behaves. Looks like they have the setting for wide address bar, nice.

Another cool feature I see is the ability to access files on IPFS within its own http like protocol. This should be handy as I plan on start to use this to host some of my personal encrypted files of content.

All in all I give this browser two Buddhist monk thumbs up. If I find anything good or ugly with my use, I'll give this article an update. But at this time it appears I have made the switch to a new browser finally. Thank you for reading.

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