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Brave is the name, ad-blocking the game of new browser

Gregg Keizer | Jan. 22, 2016
Former Mozilla CEO announces browser -- now in developer preview -- that will replace targeted ads on sites with its own 'anonymous' ads, and share revenue with content makers.

Al Hilwa, an analyst with research firm IDC, applauded the concept of creating an alternate revenue stream from traditional advertising, but wondered whether the browser could compete, even in the niche that Eich described. "This is a laudable idea, but fighting 'free' is always risky," said Hilwa in an email reply to questions.

Hilwa also praised Brave's track-and-serve-ads blocking. "[Brave] recognizes the key fact that browsing has become truly onerous and ever slower, even as devices have become faster," he said, pointing out that the "complex web of ad downloads" dwarfs the actual content being pulled into the browser.

Other browsers, notably Firefox -- and in the past, Microsoft's Internet Explorer -- have played the privacy card, too, although any success with that angle has not been measurable because both have lost significant user share in the past two years.

Ironically, considering Eich's background -- along with Mitchell Baker, he co-founded Mozilla, maker of Firefox, in 1998 -- Brave on the desktop is based on Chromium, the open-source project Google runs to feed code into its Chrome browser. Brave on iOS, however, is a fork of Firefox on Apple's mobile operating system.

Eich, also known for creating JavaScript, one of the foundations of the Web, was the CEO of Mozilla for a brief stretch in early 2014, but resigned less than two weeks into the job. During Eich's time as CEO, protests mounted over his 2008 contribution to supporters of Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage.


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