Brave’s privacy-first browser has come out of beta for the first time. It offers some serious anti-surveillance protection compared to Chrome

You’re almost certainly reading this story through Google’s Chrome web browser. It is, by far, the world’s most popular browser – according to stats from June 2019, Chrome is used by more than 70 per cent of desktop users around the world.

And it’s growing. Analytics firm Statista reports that Google’s dominance has increased by 13 per cent in the last three years alone. But there are plenty of privacy-first Chrome alternatives out there for you to try.

One of them, Brave, has just launched its first full version. Built by Brendan Eich, who co-founded Mozilla (the creator of Firefox), it’s one of the most interesting browser competitors to have emerged in recent years. This week, Brave came out of beta and launched its first stable release. With version 1.0 comes its own private advertising network and a reward scheme which lets its users pay websites that they like.

Even though Brave is only just out of beta, it already has eight million people using it every month. (There are iOS and Android versions for your mobile devices, plus those for Windows, Linux and Mac). Its user base is still tiny when compared to Firefox, which has more than 100 million monthly users and Chrome which has more than a billion. But size doesn’t matter. Here’s a few reasons why you should consider ditching Chrome for the first version of Brave.

Minimising data collection

Google is in the big data business. It collects information you give it – through browsing, maps, voice, search and more – and uses this to build up a picture of your life. Through having a detailed knowledge of you, Google can then sell advertising that’s more targeted to your interests. The more specific the ad, the more money Google makes.

On the other hand, Brave blocks adverts that record your browsing history. It does this by default, meaning it minimises the data that can be collected. “Our servers neither see nor store your browsing data – it stays private, on your devices, until you delete it,” Brave says on its website.

You can also see how many advertising trackers have been blocked through Brave’s dashboard. Want to tidy up your online life? You can find out how to delete your Google history here.

Faster browsing

When it comes to browsing, speed matters. Brave claims its browser is faster than its rivals. The company says major news websites can launch between two and eight times faster on mobile and desktop than in Chrome and Firefox. The reason for this? Because the Brave browser isn’t loading ads with trackers, the company claims it can load web pages faster.

Pick a default search engine

Brave is built on the Chromium source code, which is the same framework that pretty much all modern web browsers use: both Microsoft Edge and Google’s own Chrome use the code. But this doesn’t mean you’re tied into Google products.

When starting Brave for the first time, you’re given a choice of search engines. Google is set to default but there’s also the option of DuckDuckGo, Qwant, Bing and StartPage.

Built-in password manager

Google Chrome has a built-in password manager – it’s better than repeating passwords across multiple services. But you probably already use Google’s services for email, documents and more. Do you want to rely on one company for your entire digital life?

Conveniently, Brave has a password manager that’s also part of the browser. It can automatically save your passwords and keep them secure. As well as this it will autofill passwords into the login pages of websites you visit regularly.

Private ads

While Brave blocks all ads by default, it’s not an ad-free browser. The organisation believes it has a better way to do online advertising. Instead it has its own private ads platform.

If people decide to opt into its Rewards scheme then ads will be turned on. Brave uses blockchain-based tokens, called BAT, that are given to both users and advertisers when adverts are viewed. Once they’ve been received, people browsing the web can send BAT to “creators” of their choice.

This means people can essentially pay the websites they enjoy reading the most – at this early stage, it’s not clear whether this approach will catch on. What is certain is that services like this have a long way to go before they make any dent in an online advertising industry dominated by Facebook and Google.

 

Source: Wired

Want to build a reputation for modernity for your small business? These are the bare minimum features you need.

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It’s no secret that the internet has taken over the world. Many of us would now have a difficult time living without it, as we rely on it to find information for common questions, directions to our destinations and interactions with the people in our lives.

Countless businesses have leveraged the internet’s ubiquity and power to fuel their own popularity and success, but a number of businesses are still reluctant to get involved in the online marketing game — usually due to fears of cost, or even intimidation at the notion of change.

But you don’t need to go all-out with an online strategy. If you want to build a reputation for your business — or at least satisfy your existing customers — there are some online basics you’ll need to put in place. Here are the bare-minimum features every modern business should have:

1. A website

If you don’t have a website, you’re behind the times. Your website is the hub for the rest of your inbound marketing strategy, serving as the final destination for your directional efforts. It’s the place where people can reach out and contact you, giving you the opportunity to gain new customers and leads. Even more importantly, a website is a place where people already familiar with your brand can find more information about you, such as where you’re located and what your services are. It’s also a marker of legitimacy; if a prospective customer finds out you don’t have a website, he or she may not take you as seriously, or believe you don’t keep pace with modern trends.

2. A social media presence

Having some kind of social media presence is also important. It’s not absolutely necessary to post every day or go out of your way to building an audience, but you should at least fill out the basic information in profiles on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Again, social media serve as a marker of legitimacy, showing the “realness” and modernity of your company. It’s also a way to get in front of people who are specifically searching for you on these outlets.

3. A base of local citations

Local citations are brief entries or descriptions of your company in off-site locations, such as third-party local directories or review sites. Chances are, even if your business doesn’t have a website or social media profile, it’s already got a handful of local citations in existence due to customer reviews or mentions of your business. Because they’re there, you might as well take advantage of them. Peruse popular sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor, and make any needed corrections to information like your company name, address and phone number. Local citations are good for local SEO and general visibility alike.

4. Regular updates

It’s not enough simply to establish a presence; you also have to take the effort to update that presence whenever necessary to keep your audience in the loop. An important example: If your company changes locations, you’ll need to update your address on your website, social media profiles and possibly your local citations, as well. The same is true if you change your hours or offer new products or services. Take the effort to keep your audience updated.

5. Easy contact options

Much of the reason you need an online presence is to give online users an easier way to connect with you; you’ll want to make that potential connection as easy as possible by including many varied contact options. For example, you’ll need to at least include a phone number and contact form on your website, and perhaps a live chat feature as well. You’ll also need to reliably respond to people who reach out to you on social media channels.

Beyond the basics

If you have the preceding five basics in place, you can count yourself as meeting the minimum threshold for modern visibility. But if you want to go beyond them, you can start getting involved in some entry-level strategies to afford you some measure of escalation and improvement:

  • Optimisation (specifically search engine optimisation — SEO) is the process of making changes to your site and online presence to increase its visibility in search engines like Google.
  • Ongoing content. Developing an ongoing content strategy will help you stay relevant to your social media audience, provide more information to your customers, increase customer loyalty and brand recognition and even improve your search rankings. I highly encourage maintaining a regular blog.
  • Social engagement. Reach out to new people who might be interested in your brand on social media. Building an audience will make you more authoritative, and might even earn you some new leads.
  • Growth. Once you get your foot in the door, you’ll find it easier to escalate the visibility and reputation of your brand with more content, more followers and more online marketing tactics.

Try to keep an open mind about the possibilities for online marketing, even if your industry is an old one, and even if you’re used to more traditional means of marketing and advertising. Simply establishing a baseline presence can have an enormous benefit for your current and potential future customers alike, providing information, direction and additional visibility.

But, by going beyond that level, with a framework for a content marketing and SEO campaign, you’ll start seeing traffic and engagements within a matter of weeks.

Source: Entrepreneur.com

The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a resolution for the “promotion, protection, and enjoyment of human rights on the internet” which condemns any country that intentionally disrupts the internet access of its citizens. The resolution stresses that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online” particularly with regards to the freedom of expression.

Though it was passed by consensus, the resolution was opposed by a small number of countries including Russia and China who wished to make a number of amendments, in particular aiming to delete calls for a “human rights based approach” for providing and expanding access to the internet and remove key references to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and language on freedom of expression from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Resolutions like this one aren’t legally binding, however, they do put pressure on governments and it’s particularly significant that the UN has decided to condemn internet shutdowns as it’s been revealed an increasing number of countries are using this as a method of controlling citizens. Recently Facebook and Twitter in Turkey was throttled in the aftermath of an explosion in Ankara and it’s even being used for smaller matters such as Algeria blocking access to social media in order to stop students cheating on tests.

Though happy with the resolution and its articulation of “strong human rights standards” Hughes states that it could and should go further as “the global situation for freedom of expression online demands more specific and detailed commitment from states to address other priority issues.” In future Human Rights Council resolutions, he stresses that states must tackle these more specific priority issues head on “including abusive laws that target legitimate online dissent, government efforts to undermine anonymity and encryption, and attempts to exert undue pressure on private ICT actors to engage in censorship.

Source: Independent UK