The Brave browser

2016-06-23 2 min read

    Trying to launch a new browser seems like a fool’s errand and yet if there’s anyone that can do it it’s Brendan Eich, who in addition to creating JavaScript also ran Mozilla. Given his pedigree I decided to give his new browser, Brave, a shot. It’s definitely a bit on the rough side compared to the mainstream browsers but it’s surprisingly fast. The speed improvement comes from a built in adblocker rather than having it implemented via slower browser extensions. At the same time Brave wants to pay publishers for their content by partnering with higher quality advertisers in order to serve benevolent ads that should also be priced at a premium.

    The difficulty with this approach is that tracking users is what makes the advertising so valuable. Being able to track users allows advertisers to see what users care about, their purchase intent, as well as a whole slew of demographic information based on their consumption behavior. Eliminating this will cause advertisers to be shooting in the dark. There’s a reason Google and Facebook are eating up nearly 80% of every advertising dollar - they’re leveraging their data to provide extremely targeted and effective advertising that will be tough to do without the ability to track users.

    I can see the case that Brave can centralize the tracking and allow users to opt into sharing this data with various partners. The challenge is getting advertisers on board with this as they would have to trust Brave for their reporting and getting users to opt in to this. I know very few people who’ve used adblock and then decided to switch back to a full ad experience. Brave has a tough road ahead.