It's 2022 and the internet as a whole is changing faster than ever. Facebook having a monopoly over the majority of social media traffic taking place on the internet and Google having a monopoly in the search engine and browser space has raised several questions about the openness of the internet. These mega-corporations control our online existence and as a result, it becomes utterly important to know what power we hold as a consumer. Now, I'm not here to give you conspiracy theories about monopolies and oppression and whatnot, instead, I'm going to focus on the objective truth, the facts we have at our hands.
Data has been deemed as the world's most valuable resource, more valuable than oil by The Economist magazine and most people aren't even aware of how their data is fueling these monopolies and hurting the open nature of the internet. Your data is important, if you don't respect it, someone else will and we all know how well they do that. Your data has value, maybe not to you but to those who understand how to manipulate it and when they do manipulate it that's when the reality starts to shift and you end up not controlling even your own thoughts. I know it sounds strange but it's true. Numerous research papers have been published over the years that have concluded that the power of suggestion, even through lousy advertising, can be persuasive enough to make you think a certain way. Facebook called these people 'persuadables', those who are naive or haven't formed their mindset rigidly and can be persuaded to think in a particular way with enough algorithm brainwashing.
It's not hard to see why you would want to protect your data. Your data is an asset, and they already know what value it holds which is why you're seeing some of the richest corporations ever created in the history of mankind, mining and stealing every single bit of your data. I'm not saying these corporations are evil and you should be up and ready with your pitchforks but it's essential to understand how and why these corporations must be kept in check so that the immense power does not end up biting us back because "You give them an inch and they'll take a mile".
So for the internet to remain as it was meant to be, to be free and open to the expression of any kind from anyone, we must take the control back and that starts from our browser. Your browser is the primary window to the capaciousness of the internet and while you may not think of it as a creepy data-mining factory, that's exactly what has become of it. Trinity University, Dublin published a research paper that showed that Browsers like Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Yandex can be a privacy nightmare. These browsers are constantly uploading every single bit of data identifier to their cloud servers which are then used to create a psychological profile about you and sell it to politicians, advertisers, and other companies. Every single website query that you enter in the address bar of Google Chrome is sent to Google and yes, even the one that you're not searching for on Google explicitly.
Your mouse movements, your website history, your passwords, every single piece of information that constitutes your identity are then stolen and sold to profit off of you. Ask yourself this, what's their end goal here? Do you as a consumer, like to be exploited? Are you as a consumer, not afraid of the fact that every single movement of yours is recorded and then used against you? If yes, then you're already halfway there.
In this write-up, I'll give you 12 reasons (+1 extra bonus reason for devs) why you as a Google Chrome user should switch to Brave Browser while losing nothing and gaining everything.
1. Brave Browser looks exactly like Google Chrome
Brave Browser and Google Chrome are built on the same technology. Brave Browser and Google Chrome are both based on Chromium, which is a free and open-source browser built by Google. While Chromium is fantastic, it is also not free of predatory trackers and proprietary code. Brave solved this problem by creating a fork of Chromium and enhancing it to a tee. Every single feature that you have in Google Chrome is also available on the Brave Browser. If you as a developer are concerned about your Dev Tools, fear not, Brave comes with the exact same Dev Tools that you're used to on Chrome.
See any visual differences? Well, your first problem is solved then, familiarity's already there. No learning curves.
2. Google Chrome is not Open Source
Brave Browser on the other hand is a fully free and open-source software licensed under Mozilla Public License v2.0 If you ever find Brave having a problem, it'll already be public before you know it, that's the power of FOSS.
3. Brave Browser is 100% Private
While Google Chrome tracks your every single move, the Brave browser is free of telemetry, spyware, and trackers. The code is audited by security and privacy experts around the world to make sure that the code is free of any malware or code with ill-intent, for which the same cannot be said about Google Chrome since nobody can review the code and tell you what's shady and what's not. Then how is Brave able to count how many users they have without telemetry? For this reason alone, Brave built open-source privacy-preserving analytics or P3A for short. These are totally anonymized and cannot be linked back to you, it helps Brave know their monthly active users and that's as far as it goes.
4. Brave Browser blocks all Ads and Trackers by default
When was the last time you used your Google Chrome browser without blocking ads? It's almost impossible to do that right? After Advertising hit the internet, we knew it was going to be a problem. These days, everything is an ad. The ad to content ratio on websites has increased exponentially, leaving you with more ads than the actual content.
Brave Browser blocks all ads by default and not just ads, all creepy privacy-invasive trackers too! So no website can track your movements, no website can steal your cookies and use them against you. Even your browser fingerprint is randomized so that your device cannot be linked when you visit multiple websites.
5. It's lighter on Resources
Google Chrome is a resource hog and we all know it. Numerous memes about Google Chrome literally eating your RAM are not too far off from reality. Brave Browser on the other hand requires fewer resources than Google Chrome, does not eat away your RAM, and has better memory management. Not only does this save resources for other applications on your device but it can also save battery and that is definitely a good reason to switch.
6. It's wayyyyyy faster than Chrome
Brave is an extremely fast browser that can load websites a lot faster than Chrome. It can provide up to 3x times faster website load speeds because of the less overhead that it has to load thanks to the Brave Shield. Brave Browser is great if you value speed and privacy over, well, neither.
7. You can import Google Chrome data into Brave
It can be painful to set up a totally new browser and enter all your passwords and bookmarks again which is why Brave comes with an 'automatic import' functionality. This imports every single password, history entry, bookmarks, extension from your other browsers to your Brave profile. So now you can switch from Google Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi or Microsoft Edge to Brave in a single click!
9. Encrypted Chain-based Sync
Brave Browser does not require a Google Account like Chrome to sync your passwords, history, and extensions across your synced devices. Instead, it uses a private sync chain-based sync server that encrypts every bit of your data which lets you sync with a simple QR-Code and secret-key as opposed to a Google Account requiring a username and password and Google having access to all your sync data.
10. Brave Browser supports Web3 and Decentralization
Brave Browser is the only major browser to support the IPFS protocol. It's a decentralized internet protocol like HTTP that cannot be blocked or censored. An extremely useful tool in the age of censorious governments and corporations. IPFS is also used in Web3 technologies to create decentralized apps and services. If you're a Web3 developer, it makes no sense to develop your Web3 apps on Chrome, because Brave has multiple features built-in for Web3 developers. It makes things effortless!
11. Brave Browser rewards you for using it!
Brave Browser blocks ads by default but what about those whom you should support? It's a fair question, we obviously don't want to block ads on websites where we want to support the creators so this creates a problem. Well, the solution is fairly simple and Brave gives you multiple options to support your favorite creators while rewarding you with actual money! 70% of the revenue generated from Ads on Brave is given back to the users who receive them.
Brave Browser comes with a Brave Rewards feature that gives you small notification ads. These ads don't appear in your browser anywhere or any website but as small notifications in your system that you can completely ignore and dismiss. You get rewarded just for receiving these ads, not watching or clicking them. Free passive income for those who don't mind it. You collect these rewards as BAT (Basic Attention Token) which is a cryptocurrency that you can transfer to your Gemini account and cash out for real money! You can also tip these BATs that you collect to your favorite creators who are registered Brave publishers (as easy as just registering an account).
12. All requests to Google are Proxied
Brave Browser lets you download extensions directly from the Chrome Web Store but that introduces a problem, if extensions need to be updated won't that require you to connect to Google Servers and possibly share information? Brave has that covered too. Each and every single request to Google is proxied through a server, which means Google never knows where a request is coming from and what additional data can be extracted from the request.
Brave also comes with Phishing/Malware detection, which again, uses a proxy server to serve these requests. You can read how Brave protects your data by removing several Chromium trackers and code: https://github.com/brave/brave-browser/wiki/Deviations-from-Chromium-(features-we-disable-or-remove)
13. Brave Search is amazing!
I cannot stress how important an alternative Search Engine has become in the day and age of Google becoming worse every single day. As explained in this article, Google Search is dying: https://dkb.io/post/google-search-is-dying
It's plagued with Ads, irrelevant content and things that contribute to mediocre search results and the end result is you as a user not having a good experience or finding what you need. There's also the thing about censorship. Google will censor anything that opposes their views and will try their best to either shadow-ban it on Google Search or push it to pages that nobody ever opens. There already are a few alternatives to Google Search like Bing and DuckDuckGo but Bing is as data hungry as Google Search and DuckDuckGo is not an independent Search engine. It's entirely dependent upon Bing for its Search Results, so essentially, you're just using Bing.
If you like the idea of an independently indexed search engine that does not involve censorship or data tracking or profiling, consider giving Brave Search a try. Brave Search is still in Beta but it feels nothing like Beta software. The search results are high quality, the helpful sidebar suggestions are amazing and even better than Google at times.
For Developers, Brave Search has quite a few perks, like Stackoverflow answers directly in the sidebar so you don't even need to open any links.
On top of that, Brave Search gives you these really helpful 'Copy Code' buttons. So you can directly copy terminal commands without ever opening links! It's extremely helpful and a lot better than Google Search.
"But hey! what if I don't like the search results" Well, that's covered too! With Brave Search, you can use !Bang shortcuts. Simply search with the !Bang and you get access to several websites directly! So for example, instead of searching for
logitech keyboard on Google, you could simply type
!a logitech keyboard or
logitech keyboard !a on Brave Search and it would directly search for
logitech keyboard on Amazon for you and redirect you there. !Bang shortcuts are extremely powerful, you have access to several different search engines with this. So even if your main search engine is Brave, you get access to Google with
!g, Bing with
!b, DuckDuckGo with
!d and YouTube with
!yt. Now that is a feature worth trying! Give it a go, maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't but either way, you'll end up supporting Alt-Tech and discovering new things 😉
Alright, enough talk from my side, your turn to switch and discover new ideas and alternatives. I hope you learned something from this article today. It's not much but it's honest work.