Nobody needs to tell me about how ads are bad and how they break the browsing experience. If you hate ads, especially popup ads, you should know that things are better now. Before extensions like Adblock Plus became popular the internet was like a Wild-West with spammy advertisements launching a dozen popup windows as soon as you landed on the home page of some sites. Videos autoplaying everywhere and it would sometimes take you five minutes to get a handle on things. It was a nightmare.
Now thanks to the advent of Adblock the advertisement industry has come up with standards that publishers can use without ruining things for their readers. In an ideal world we wouldn’t need ads but unfortunately in countries like Zimbabwe programs like Adsense are still the easiest way to monetise online content so just about every site or blog you visit has them.
The rise of Brave, a privacy focused browser
It’s not just popup ads that annoy people. You also have creepy companies like Facebook and Google following your every move on the internet. They know what you have been up to and use this information to offer tailored ads. Worse still, sometimes they sell this information to third parties. So we have seen a rise in privacy extensions for browsers too.
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That is the vision upon which Brave browser was born. It’s easily one of the fastest-growing browsers on the internet. They claim to be a privacy-focused browser. It’s easy to see what Brave is all about. Instead of you having to install Chrome, install Adblock, tweak privacy settings and so on you can just install Brave. It is based on Chromium, the engine that powers Chrome, Chromium and Edge.
The main aim appears to be to make privacy settings accessible to the average user who doesn’t know how to dig around Chrome or Firefox to get decent privacy settings. In that regard, Brave succeeds. By default, it offers better privacy including blocking most ads as well as tracking cookies.
The thing is companies like Google and Facebook have already moved on from relying on cookies to track you. There are other ways to keep track of yourself. For example, we can generate unique signatures based on your IP, user agent and lots of other data. So I can assure you that Google and Facebook will be able to track you even if you are using Brave. Don’t believe me? Use it as your default browser for a while and see if the personalised ads from Google stop. Besides most of the time, you are logged into your Gmail and Facebook so there is no hiding really.
Brave does a good job of blocking spammy ads and popups but in my opinion, it’s no better than Chrome with Adblock in this regard. Talking about spammy ads it is really ironic that Brave blocks ads but its default start page is full of them. There are adverts everywhere including ones that lead to third party sites who are presumably paying Brave for the privilege of advertising there.
Even around the internet, you will see Brave advertisements everywhere. They even use Google Adwords to promote their browser. Again that is rather ironic. This is a rather tacit admission that for all the talk against online advertisements, there is really no viable alternative to these yet. It’s kind of like the password thing. Everybody hates them but until we have a better solution there are here to stay.
Beware the affilliates
So another alternative way for people (publishers, YouTubers and social media influencers) is through affiliate marketing. This is when sellers give you a unique link that you can use to promote a given product on your site or social media account. When users follow that link and make a purchase or download they get paid a commission. This is because the seller uses your unique link to keep track of the downloads/purchases that they can attribute to you.
That’s why you have all those glowing reviews of Brave browser on YouTube and various social media pages. It’s not really because Brave is that awesome, it is a decent browser but hardly worth the praise it gets. It’s just because people are trying to make bank.
Now here is me being controversial but factual. Chrome is a much faster browser than Brave. If you don’t believe me run any benchmark you want and see for yourself. Chrome blows away Brave practically every day. This is despite the fact that Brave with its features is supposed to be faster than Chrome. The reality is that it isn’t. The engineers at Google have worked hard to make it a fast browser and they have succeeded in that regard. No browser is faster than Chrome. Not even Edge.
Brave is not a bad browser, it’s just not going to protect your privacy better than or be faster than your current Chrome browser. Anyone telling you anything different is lying.
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