An early version of Brave, the new web browser from Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich’s company Brave Software, released today. The new browser is essentially designed to block harmful advertising and tracking while being generally more secure.
The idea is that not only will this prevent all that sneaky, and sometimes harmful, tracking and so on, but it should drastically reduce the time it takes to load a page. An example video from Brave shows two iPhone 6 Plus models running iOS 9.2 loading up a page, one using Safari and one using Brave. And, what a surprise, Brave beats Safari every single time by stripping out ads.
But it’s not like Brave’s trying to completely disrupt whatever revenue streams are attached to this stuff. Instead, the browser intends to present only “clean” ads — ones that aren’t limiting browser usage or doing anything shady — from Brave itself, which would then see that revenue shared with publishers of websites. In theory, anyway.
“You use a browser to find and contribute information, but you generally do not pay for the websites who host that information,” Eich’s blog post on the release of this developer version of Brave reads. “Across billions of people, for most sites in most countries, it isn’t realistic to expect anything but a free Web.”
But, Eich notes, this definition of “free” usually means “ad-supported,” in reality. The common assumption goes something along the lines of “people hate ads,” but the problem isn’t necessarily the concept of ads so much as it is specific ads and the way they are presented. If they’re actively making the experience of browsing the web worse, well, that’s not going to earn them any favors.
“Blockers can make the user experience of the Web much better,” Eich admits. “But as Marco Arment noted, they don’t feel good to many folks. They feel like free-riding, or even starting a war. You may never click on an ad, but even forming an impression from a viewable ad has some small value. With enough people blocking ads, the Web’s main funding model is in jeopardy.”
And that is where Brave comes in. The open-source browser is currently available in its 0.7 developer version for Android, iOS, OS X, Windows, and Linux.