Brave is a new browser that aims to “fix the Web.” How? By blocking everything except the content you explicitly want. That means no ads, no cookies, nothing that you haven’t personally requested from the Internet. The exceptions are extremely specific, and the approach is as aggressive as the ads themselves.
In a letter to potential users on the Brave Software website, Eich says:
Everyone’s talking about ad blocking. Blockers can make the user experience of the Web much better. But as Marco Arment noted, they don’t feel good to many folks. They feel like free-riding, or even starting a war. You may never click on an ad, but even forming an impression from a viewable ad has some small value. With enough people blocking ads, the Web’s main funding model is in jeopardy.
At Brave, we’re building a solution designed to avert war and give users the fair deal they deserve for coming to the Web to browse and contribute. We are building a new browser and a connected private cloud service with anonymous ads. Today we’re releasing the 0.7 developer version for early adopters and testers, along with open source and our roadmap.
Brave browsers block everything: initial signaling/analytics scripts that start the programmatic advertising “dirty pipe”, impression-tracking pixels, and ad-click confirmation signals. By default Brave will insert ads only in a few standard-sized spaces. We find those spaces via a cloud robot (so users don’t have to suffer, even a few canaries per screen size-profile, with ad delays and battery draining). We will target ads based on browser-side intent signals phrased in a standard vocabulary, and without a persistent user id or highly re-identifiable cookie.
To accomplish this, Brave Software has raised a reported $2.5 million from “angel” investors. It doesn’t sound like much, considering the height of Brave’s ambition. In November, Eich told C-Net that they’re “trying to innovate in dimensions that a lot of incumbents won’t innovate, where the user will have more control and maybe bargaining power.”
Alongside Brendan Eich in this endeavor is long-time ally Brian Bondy, who worked on FireFox at Mozilla.
Eich left Mozilla in 2014 after a targeted campaign against him once it was revealed that he had donated $1,000 to efforts to pass Proposition 8 in California in 2008, which banned same-sex marriage in the state. While celebrated by authoritarian progressives, Eich’s ouster was roundly criticized by proponents of the 1st Amendment, including ardent leftists and proponents of gay marriage like Bill Maher and Andrew Sullivan.
Brave makes a bold statement, and even its just-launched 0.7 version is already turning heads. If Brave Software succeeds, advertising agencies will be forced to approach web-based content in a whole new way. Very soon, all-but-required ad blocking browser enhancements may be rendered obsolete by this altogether new browsing experience.
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