Chrome has been my go-to for almost a decade now. I'm the kind of person who finds it stupid to cover the webcam (unless I have a sticky note full of credentials on my fridge), so I guess its quite clear already that I'm not high on privacy concerns but what bothered me the most was how much information Google was extracting from me.
It is indeed good to have stuff show up when you have wanted to check it out for quite some time, but sometimes Google goes overboard, and that's where things get a little creepy. It gets bizarre to the point where Google starts showing you embarrassing ads.
The AdBlock extension wasn't doing a great job at stopping these ads either. Even before I could think about switching browsers, an article showed up on my Google feed, "Why Microsoft Edge is better than Chrome?" (Oh, how nice of you Google) The embarrassing ads and this article made me want to give Edge a shot; I still hadn't uninstalled Chrome, though. I installed Edge and imported all my settings from Chrome, and I was all set to go. I was pretty happy with how my extensions still worked and how it respected my privacy. I used it for two days and realized that Edge wasn't as fast as Chrome, and there were minor flaws and aesthetic decisions that I was nitpicking on.
I went back to Chrome to put up with its snooping in return for a good overall experience. The ad problem persisted, and as usual, Chrome was devouring the memory of my base model 2017 Macbook Pro. I usually code and have multiple tabs open on Chrome (Yes, stack overflow. No! I do not copy-paste!) with a few other apps I need in the background. So, the machine was running hot, and I still did not want to look over Chrome. As usual, Google snooped on my cryptocurrency investment activities and showed me related articles on my Google feed. Even though I have come across the BAT token, I never paid much attention to it.
One fine day, Google suggested another article to me, "Brave browser can replace Chrome on all your devices soon" (Gee! Thanks Google.) At this point, I started thinking Google devs themselves want people to divert to a safer place, but that's a stretch. I was reluctant to try it out at first since it was not from a reputed company like Microsoft or Google. I read a few articles and reviews on the Brave browser, and let me be brutally honest; I fell for the "get paid for viewing ads" model. I'm the same person that hated Google's embarrassing ads, but Brave was doing it a little differently, in a good way.
Even though Brave is built over Chromium, the connection ends there. Brave is privacy-focused, and it does its job really well while having the perks of Google like the extensions. Brave can use all the extensions from the Chrome web store and can also use Google's themes. I researched this new browser and came across some shocking information about how ads do more damage than I had initially anticipated. We don't usually consider the possibility of paying a substantial amount to ISPs for downloading ads that we don't wish to see. The average mobile browser user pays as much as $23 a month in data charges to download ads and trackers — that's $276 a year. Brave blocks ads and trackers, so you don't pay for them.
Here's some data to back up this claim:
Brave's ads aren't invasive like Google's, they ask for permission to show ads, and these ads are neither popups nor full-page ads; they're mere notifications for which you get paid. It's totally up to you to opt-in for the "Brave Rewards" program, and if you don't, there are absolutely no ads at all; you don't need an additional extension for blocking ads.
The ad concept was interesting, and I liked how it worked. The browser tallies the attention you spend on each website and shows you ads based on it. The neat trick here is that all the browsing information stays on your device's local storage. You get to keep 70%, and 30% of the ad revenue goes to Brave. There is also an option to tip Brave verified websites and content creators you love.
Freecodecamp.org is a website that provides content for free and does not show ads at all. As much as I always wanted to donate to them I haven't started earning much money yet, and I found Brave's tipping feature great as I could get paid for viewing ads and tip them with what I earned here. Brave is very privacy-oriented in that it uses Tor in incognito mode (sweet). "Shields" is a warm welcome to Brave as it has pretty cool tricks up its sleeve. It blocks all ads & trackers, fingerprinting, scripts, and upgrades HTTP connections to HTTPS (safety first). There are times when certain sites have frozen for no good reason, and they were mostly because of the trackers, ads, and scripts as it takes time to load them along with the web content. Another major advantage to consider is that Brave is faster than all the other major browsers out there. As I'm writing this article, I still have my IDE running and 12+ tabs open on Brave; the machine is neither heating up nor is laggy. As Brave claims, it is almost 8x faster than Chrome, and I don't think I can disagree. Provided Google's exposed privacy breach recently, Brave could cash in on this and rise to the top.
As of now, Chrome accounts for 63% of the web browser market share. Brave is nowhere to be seen as it is relatively new. With Brave's revenue model, websites might soon look this way since it's a win-win for both users and content creators. I have completely moved over to Brave browser on all my devices, and I am happy with the change even though I'm pretty late to the party. It wasn't an easy decision to switch, as I have been using Chrome for years, and like almost everyone else, did not want to lose the convenience of the tied in Google services and user-friendliness. All this faded away when I sat in the Brave browser's front seat, and so far, the experience has been great. I can't wait for Brave to become braver. Be brave and give Brave a shot if you haven't already.
It would be great if you could download Brave from the affiliate link provided above as it would support my work while helping you be part of a safer Internet. To have a seamless switch, go to settings and import the bookmarks and settings from your previous browser.
I was not paid by Brave to write this article. This is neither Chrome hate nor Edge degradation. I found Brave to work well for me and it is a much better and safer browser than all the major players out there. It is up to you to decide if you want to be Human or a product.