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A new player in web browsers game

By Jean-Claude Elias - Apr 11,2019 - Last updated at Apr 11,2019

Which is your favourite Internet browser? Which one have you defined as the default browser in your system? Are you fully satisfied and happy with your choice? Have you heard of Brave?

Browsing the web, by any measure or standard, represents a significant part of our living with the network, the machines and the high-tech digital world in general. Hence the importance of the software application you use for that, namely the web browser, or simply the browser.

Between the various operating systems for full-size computers such as Windows and MacOS, and those designed for mobile devices, including iOS and Android, it was only normal to see several applications fighting to do the same thing and aiming to please the population, looking for the coveted title of “best browser”. Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, Samsung Internet, Internet Explorer and Edge are the main contenders in this very specific category of software products. Till now at least, and counting without the new player in the game: Brave.

On the podium where the top three champions proudly stand, we first find Chrome with 62 per cent of the market, the undisputed gold medallist. The silver medal goes to Safari with 16 per cent, and the bronze medal is awarded to Firefox with 5 per cent. The remaining 17 per cent go to all the other aforementioned browsers. Figures are provided by gs.statcounter.com and date to March 2019.

How do users decide which browser is the best? Convenience, aesthetics, reliability and ease of use, they all matter, but speed seems to be a prime criterion. 

The newest browser of them all is Brave, the product of Brave Software, a company founded in 2015 by Brendan Eich and Brian Bondy. It is so new that it is not even in the usage statistics yet. It claims to be the fastest and includes a smartly integrated, a built-in ad-blocker.

Being able to block those annoying ads that come aplenty in other browsers, including in Chrome, is what allows Brave to run very fast. Of course, you can always add an ad-blocker such as Adblock Plus in Chrome, but it is not the same as having the functionality built-in the browser from the start, as it is the case with Brave.

Curiosity is too strong to fight for a tech-head like me, and so I downloaded and installed Brave a couple of days ago, to see for myself what it is about and how fast it actually is, to what extent the designers’ claim is true. I am a conservative IT person and do not like to express an opinion before deep, long, thorough testing, which usually requires several days. This being said, what I have already seen and experienced with Brave in just two days is definitely positive and I dare say impressive.

The fact that Brave is very fast is indisputable. And yes, I found to be faster than Chrome, Safari or Firefox. Sites load in a split second. The Jordantimes.com home page, for example, loaded faster than the eye can see. The graphic layout is simple, elegant and pleasant, but nothing extraordinary. Upon installing Brave I was asked if I wanted it to import the bookmarks I was keeping in my “other” browser, Chrome in this case. It did it well and I was able to use my favourite sites immediately.

The technical tests I carried out under Windows 10 showed me that memory and CPU usage/consumption seems comparable in Chrome, Brave and Firefox, very close actually — no clear advantage for any of these three browsers in that sense.

At this point it is too early to decide whether I am going to make Brave my default browser and give up on Chrome. I am used to the latter, I trust it and like it very much. Moreover, and as stated above, I need to test Brave for a longer period before making a decision, so I am going to keep both browsers and use them in parallel for a while. Again, Brave is very, very fast. Have I already said it?

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