‘Privacy first’ Brave browser exits beta

By blocking trackers, invasive ads, and device fingerprinting by default, the open source browser had drawn protest from content publishers

‘Privacy first’ Brave browser exits beta
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Brave Software has launched Brave 1.0, the official GA release of its controversial, privacy-focused web browser.

The open source browser combines a blockchain-based digital advertising and payments platform and “privacy by design,” combatting “surveillance capitalism” by blocking trackers, invasive ads, and device fingerprinting. This improves speed, privacy, security, and performance, the company said. 

Default settings also block malware, malvertising, and phishing. Also, embedded plugins, viewed as a security risk, are disabled by default. Browsing data stays private and never leaves the user’s device, with Brave not seeing the data on its servers or selling data to third parties.

Specific features of the Brave browser include:

  • Brave Shields, which blocks third-party ads, trackers, and auto-play videos. It is on by default and can be customized.
  • Brave Ads that compensate users for their attention. A blockchain advertising model shares 70 percent of ad revenue with users via Basic Attention Tokens, or BAT. BAT can be earned out of a Brave Rewards wallet and converted to digital assets and fiat currencies. Online creators can be supported. Brave Rewards features a wallet for desktop and mobile users.

Brave Software was founded by JavaScript inventor Brendan Eich, who is now Brave CEO. In 2016 Brave drew the ire of content publishers, who objected to the company’s plans to incorporate ad blocking in the browser. Brave today said the objections were over a model that was explored but never implemented; the model is now opt-in, with privacy-preserving ads delivered to a user’s device via a notification.

The Brave browser is intended to provide a smooth transition for users switching from Chrome or another browser. Bookmarks, cookies, and passwords can be imported. The browser previously was in a beta release that had attracted 8.7 million monthly users.

Where to download Brave

The Brave browser is available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. You can download Brave from the company website, Google Play, or the Apple App Store.