A few weeks ago I mentioned that Brave, the open source, privacy focused browser had been announced. Well, yesterday I received an email from their mailing list telling me that the developer builds have been released, so I thought I'd make a video testing out this early version.
It's currently available on all platforms, so Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android versions are availble, and you can find it at brave.com
Brave has quite a minimal interface. It follows the standard UI patterns of most browsers, with address bar, navigation and bookmarking at the top, and tabs below.
One thing that I like, is when you browse to a website, the address bar automatically hides, and is replaced by the title of the current tab. It also shows the loading speed for each site.
Another cool feature is how you can quickly hover over tabs to see what's inside them - pretty handy if you have lots of tabs open. It even previews videos that are playing, seemingly without any effect on performance.
One of the main selling points of Brave is its privacy focus. It comes with a few built in features that you usually need to add manually to other browsers. You'll notice them in the Bravery menu.
By default the browser runs https everywhere, which tries to redirect to an encrypted version of a site if it's available. Annoying popups are blocked, as well as third party cookies that are used to track you.
Another cool feature is built-in ad-blocking. You have the option to block ads completely, or use the still in development feature which replaces ads with options to directly pay content creators using bitcoin. I'm curious to see how this will develop, and if it will eventually allow content creators to move away from advertising as a business model.
I used browserbench.org to do a couple of tests against Firefox. It's worth noting that I had some extensions running in Firefox that do similar things to what Brave can, so add-ons like https everywhere, third party tracking blockers etc to try and make it more comparable.
Brave came out quite a bit faster on the Speedometer test, which simulates the speed at which the browser can handle user interaction. Brave scored 52.9 to Firefox's 30.6
Obviously this isn't conclusive, but anecdotally, it feels faster. You especially notice the difference, when it's loading Youtube, or say a news site, with lots of content.
Brave is still very much in development, but this early version is extremely promising. I'd love to see features that mimic NoScript functionality, along with more control of privacy options, but other than that, Brave is already very solid and fast. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what's next for the browser.
Have any of you tested this yet? What did you think? Leave your comments below, thanks for watching.