When Brave came out, my world didn’t change. I figured there was no reason to change browsers in a post Internet Explorer world. After all, Google already controls most of my information, why on earth would I want to introduce something new into our almost exclusive relationship.
Recently I woke up to what I thought was an attack on my laptop. My computer was stuck in a bios loop and wasn’t responding. I later discovered it was the Windows 10 “BSOD” (Blue Screen Of Death).
As a short term measure, I dragged my old PC into the living room and installed Ubuntu 20.04 on it so I could get right to work.
Linux is the only operating system where I am pretty sure nobody is spying on me.
After the BSOD, I began to think about the weakest links in my Windows security chain. Like most people, most of my day is spent in Chrome, where I have installed extensions, and given permission to countless sites. I came to the conclusion Chrome is my weakest link.
Ubuntu doesn’t install Chrome by default, it installs Firefox. So on my temporary PC, I decided to delay installing Chrome, and give the Firefox a try.
I used to love Firefox . Mozilla was the first browser I ever used, and there was a time when Firefox and their mail client ThunderBird were really good.
As it turns out, not only is Firefox slicker looking than Chrome, there is a noticeable speed difference. I wasn’t sure what exactly made Firefox faster, but I remembered why I left Internet Explorer in search of other browsers.
After a few days of living with it, I missed some of my Chrome extensions, but I certainly didn’t miss the bulk. Firefox felt right, It’s lightweight and feel’s faster than Chrome.
The Friend Test
My friend works with applied AI. He’s one of the best in the world at creating a custom deepfake and one of the only people who’s opinions on tech matter to me.
I told him about my Firefox experience. He agreed that it was probably faster, but then he asked me why I didn’t use Brave instead?
Brave Is Not A Joke
As it turns out, Brave is the “stupid” overambitious project I remembered reading about, but after about 10 minutes of using it — I knew it was no joke. Brave was easily the fastest browser I had ever used. If they didn’t add a single feature to it — I would continue to use it based on speed alone.
Brave was built using Chromium, so it shares a lot of features with Google Chrome. In fact, with Brave, you can install any extension that works with Chrome. Unlike Firefox, Brave works anywhere Chrome works. There is no sacrifice switching from Chrome to Brave, only benefits.
Why Is Brave So Fast?
The genius of the Brave browser can be found in its Adblocker. Adblocking is at the core of the performance gains you achieve by using Brave. Brave is so effective at blocking ads, even sites like Google look sparse.
Brave knows its saving you time. In fact , it calculates how much time it saves you and displays it on the dashboard you see on every tab you open.
Brave is known for its security features. When you visit a site, Brave scans the site to block ad tracking, malware, and anything else it thinks is threatening. This occasionally causes issues, but Brave makes it easy to put “shields up” or “shields down”.
Brave is a cornucopia of surprises. I was downloading a Linux distribution recently and chose the Torrent magnet link over the mirror link. When I clicked on the link, I was surprised to see that Brave handled the magnet link, and downloaded the entire file to memory before I could figure out what happened. Brave can download torrents without a third-party program full of ads.
Incognito, or private browsing, has been a major feature of all recent browsers, including Microsoft Edge. Private browsing sessions are private in the sense that the browser doesn’t save history and cookies to your device. Your traffic, however, is still public and can be intercepted by your ISP, unless you’re using a VPN. Brave solves this problem by offering a private browsing option that uses Tor (the dark web) to encrypt and route your traffic without the need for a VPN service.
Brave also has Crypto wallets built into the browser, making cryptocurrency easy to buy and use. Brave loves crypto, but unfortunately, it’s where they lose some people.
The Brave Economy
The downside to Brave is the overambitious economic model they created that utilizes BAT (Basic Authentication Tokens). Like many crypto projects, Brave tries to do too much. The browser stands on its own.
Brave pays you to receive ad notifications while using their browser if you choose to opt-in. They aren’t annoying ads, they don’t slow you down, and you can ignore then, close them, or disable them. It is much less annoying than having them on screen. Only 20% of people who use Brave participate in the economy. In order to convert BAT to USD, one first has to give up personal information, including a photo and a copy of your ID.
Brave is free, its open-source, and its been around since 2016. With only 12 million users, Brave is a long way from seeing the number of users Chrome or Firefox currently have. Why is it that the fastest and arguably most secure browser isn’t growing faster?
Brave isn’t perfect, but its imperfections are minor in comparison to the value it adds. Browsing the Internet at lightning speeds, without ads, or malware mining in the background is hard to get used to at first. Brave is the best browser for speed, ad-blocking, and security, after using it on all my devices, I couldn’t imagine using anything else.