In the olden days, life was simpler – browsing online meant using the inbuilt Internet Explorer on Windows and Safari on Mac OS X. Then came Google Chrome, moving the entire web browser space to high gear it changed everything. Microsoft IE and Firefox became casualties of Chrome’s success.

Till a few weeks ago, I was “happy” with Microsoft Edge as my default browser, and in the few cases where a site (mostly Government & Google’s own) had issues with Edge I used Google Chrome. But now, with Edge moving to Chromium rendering engine I was curious about how browsers based on Chromium rendering engine will differ from Google Chrome.

For the last two days, I have been using Brave browser on my PC (Windows 10), I got so impressed that I uninstalled Google Chrome. Brave is founded by Brendan Eich, the creator of Javascript language and Co-Founder of Mozilla foundation.

  • Privacy is important, but it is NOT top of my concern. In today’s digital world we need to trust our PII with some company and let that be Microsoft, Apple or Google. I feel the more this trio (M.A.G.) know about us and what we do, their apps can help us better. I have experienced as Google Now or Microsoft Launcher on Android know about what I read online, the NEWS articles suggestions they make better and better. Of course, search and looking back to what we read a few months ago becomes possible with M.A.G. companies storing all our footprints.
  • Firefox is a viable alternative, I have noticed FF being remarkably faster in my PC than Google Chrome. Unfortunately, third-party Firefox extensions (example Grammarly) are not as good as they are in Google Chrome.

I love most things about Google Chrome – standards compliance, thin chrome, fast and reliable sync between devices, autofill, ability to pin PWA apps in the desktop and choice of extensions. In recent times I am getting perturbed with Google Chrome for two reasons:

  1. It was becoming slower and slower with each release, they are adding too many features – who wants an Antivirus scanner for a PC inbuilt on a browser? I can foresee Google Chrome on all platforms becoming a ‘mini’ Chrome OS and that’s scary from a bloatware perspective.
  2. I understand Web is mostly paid by Advertisement, but Ads on the web today have become intolerable. Even YouTube video nowadays has semi-blocking banner Ads, which shows the priority of the company behind it moving away from “Doing NO Evil” and its users.

Brave’s built-in ad blocking is a welcome idea. The behaviour of 3rd Party Ad blockers is not encouraging. These extensions by their very nature read the contents in all the webpage (including Banking), if there is a data breach with the extension end, then my ‘secrets’ like password may get leaked.

Brave is far from perfect, it is unlikely that I will fall in love with it. One important feature for me that’s missing with Brave is sync between devices. I will be watching for what Microsoft does with Chromium bolted Edge and what Firefox does for the Ad problem.

Update 9th January 2019: After about two weeks of using Brave, which went mostly event free, I reverted to Google Chrome and uninstalled Brave. Reasons were:
1) I didn’t find any significant benefit of using Brave over Chrome, and, the other was few irritants
2) In few places I was seeing TOFU (the empty squares) where there should’ve been Emojis or Non-Latin Characters like Tamil, I suppose it may be due to absence of NOTO Fonts in Brave (I need to validate this)
3) In few places I was having problems with pop-ups and single sign-on with Facebook and other providers

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