The website for the startup browser company states that the new software will “block harmful advertising” that it dubs “malvertising.” Brave reports that the latest advertising technologies can plant ad malware on personal computers without users’ knowledge.
Brave is currently in 'Developer Version' or .7. We are pre-beta for sure. Submit issues on Github: https://t.co/stdwMQzxl5— Brave Software (@brave) January 20, 2016
Brave asks if computer users ever have the feeling that advertisers are “watching you when you see an ad for something you bought a few days ago” appear. The firm says that “tracking pixels” and “tracking cookies” are responsible for the placement of some ads, and that the Brave Browser protects them by blocking these forms of malware.
Further, Brave states that it will redirect users to HTTPS sites ensuring that they “are always moving your bits across the safest possible pipe.”
Mozilla makes the Lightbeam tracking blocker, an ad-block add-on is available from Google Chrome, and many others are available, as well. It seems that the Brave Browser, by default, will include many of the features offered by other ad blockers, perhaps making it easier to use for the average browser; there were reported to be 198 million internet users with ad blocking software installed in 2015, according to PageFair.
“Since our last report, the existential threat of ad blocking has become a pressing issue in the boardrooms of publishers across the world,” the PageFair blog reads. Many websites now block content to users who are using ad-blocking software, which Brave describes as an “arms race.”
Join Brave and make it our Internet. https://t.co/yo4cVqraYq— Brave Software (@brave) January 20, 2016
Perhaps interestingly, Brendan Eich sees a middle ground between publishers and their audience, writing that he wants to “avert war.”
“They feel like free-riding, or even starting a war,” Eich describes with regard to some users decision to eschew ad blocking software who, perhaps rightly, question who is going to pay for a free internet if everyone blocks publishers’ ads. Advertisers may not continue to fund publishers if the use of ad blocking software continues to increase.
Eich sees a way to allow advertisers and publishers to display anonymous ads, in fact, building a stream of this information is how Brave Software intends to make money. Consumers may reward advertisers who choose to forgo tracking their customers.
With the Brave Browser, Brave and Eich are hoping to alleviate what he describes as a “principal-agent conflict of interest” and is hoping that a tracking-free middle ground can deliver higher-quality views to advertisers, and useful ads to users while generating enough revenue to sustain the development and maintenance of a browser. Eich describes the current advertising system as needing to be “disconnected,” and compared it to putting “chlorine in the pool.” He also see potential for Brave to help in other areas where principal-agent conflict of interest arises.
A Windows desktop version of the Brave Browser isn’t available yet on the company’s website yet, but the mobile versions are. Desktop users can sign up to receive a notification from Brave when the personal computer version is available.
The desktop version of the Brave Browser is reported to run about 50 percent faster than Firefox and Chrome, and the smartphone version between 200 and 300 percent faster than other browsers, according to Consumer Affairs. The consumer watchdog writes that the question of if major websites, advertisers, publishers, and consumers will adopt what sounds like a good idea is the “big question.” Brave has promised future versions of the browser for all major operating systems.
[Photo by Cole Bennetts/Getty Images]