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We’re familiar with the big name browsers out there. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and even Microsoft Edge are all names we relate to right now. This, of course, makes it difficult for new browsers to break into the fold. Many aren’t willing to venture out after finding something they like and use on a daily basis. However, if you don’t mind trying something new and want to see some neat technology, the Brave browser is the browser you should be using in 2016.

User Interface

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Brave’s user interface isn’t miraculously different from other browsers. However, at the time of this writing, it is a whole lot cleaner than alternatives out there. In my time using Brave, it’s definitely apparent that the developers understand that the user’s primary intention is to, well, browse websites. In that sense, Brave’s user interface is very clean and lacks a lot of extras that you might see up front (e.g. Firefox and Chrome’s suggested websites/recently visited websites).

Clean interfaces are a huge plus. It’s definitely the way design trends are moving towards, but Brave does it just right. You get a clutter-free interface with no distraction. You’re presented with a address bar straight away, so you can start browsing as soon as possible.

Features

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Brave’s clutter-free interface is nice, but the thing that sets Brave apart from the rest of the crowd is its features. The browser is still in its infancy, but has some features Firefox and Chrome would never make available. The most impressive one is a built-in adblocker. By default, all ads are blocked in the Brave browser; however, you do have the option of turning on ads and tracking, but you also have the option of enabling Brave ads instead.

Brave’s goal is to replace bad ads, particularly ads that take a toll on your performance, and replace them with ads from its ad network that are nowhere near as invasive. From Brave:

“We recognize that ads pay for most of our web content. Ads are not going away. So we replace the bad ads with Brave Ads, which we use to pay publishers and users. Brave Ads use anonymous protocols — not tracking pixels — to confirm impressions (details about anonymity coming soon). And unlike the ads we remove, Brave ad replacements have a negligible effect on loading performance. In the image below, we see the same web sites as those above, with ads replaced using Brave Ads from our ad network partners (represented in light grey).”

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Brave’s goal isn’t to stop monetization, but to handle it in a user-friendly way that doesn’t impact web performance. What they’re doing is putting the user first, not taking money away from website owners. In fact, Brave recently introduced something called Brave Payments so that users who value content on a website can support that site owner. Here’s the statement from their blog:

For the first time in the history of web browsers, people can now seamlessly reward the sites whose content they value and wish to support, while remaining untracked by anyone, including us at Brave Software, Inc. This removes the need for intermediaries who may overwhelm web pages with invasive trackers and ads (and sometimes even malware). It also avoids centrally managed “feed” algorithms that may or may not value your idea of content quality.”

It’s a neat way to make the Web all that more accessible without interfering with the user.

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In addition to ad-blocking, Brave also blocks 3rd party cookies by default. This is, of course, something that can be changed within the Settings of the browser.

Security is also very important in the Brave browser. That’s why they’ve integrated HTTPS Everywhere, something that encrypts your communication with a website. It’s a great feature to have in our privacy-focused world, especially when you consider that many websites still don’t  bother with encrypting data.

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In the name of security, Brave also has an anti-malware software integrated into the browser. Called “Malvertising,” some ads are dangerous and can install malware on your computer. Brave blocks these ads, but also watches your back during normal browsing and downloading.

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Conclusion

All in all, Brave is a refreshing browser that cuts through a lot of the garbage we see on the Internet. It’s still in its infancy, but even at these early stages, I feel like it’s just as fast as giants like Chrome or Firefox. If you want to give it a try, hit the download link below. It’s available for Windows 7 or newer, macOS 10.9 or newer, as well as versions for different Linux distributions. Brave is also available on mobile platforms like Android and iOS.

Brave Download Link