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The web is infested with marketers mining your data and targeting you for sales. Foil the snoops with the tracking protection and privacy-conscious search features offered by these secure browsers.

Online privacy is a major concern in the tech world, and by far the biggest privacy issues arise when you browse the internet. Why? Because online marketers of all stripes are keen to monetize you by following you around the web with tracking via cookies, your IP address, and other device-specific identifiers.

How Are You Being Tracked Right Now?

Cookies are small bits of data that websites deposit in your browser’s storage to keep track of logins and remember your site activity. They’re essential to making the web more useable, saving you from having to recreate your login and actions every time you use a site. The privacy issue arises with third-party cookies—those that are dropped into your browser not by the site you’re viewing but by a third party (most often Google, Facebook, or advertising services) that other websites have access to for perusing your internet trail—are not the only threat to privacy. A more recent threat is fingerprinting, a way of using webpage headers and JavaScript to build a profile of you based on your system configuration. Your browser fingerprint can consist of your browser type and version, operating system, plug-ins, time zone, language, screen resolution, installed fonts, and more.

That means that even if you turn off third-party cookies (Google has stated it plans to remove support for them in its Chrome browser some time in 2023), sites can often still identify you via fingerprinting. In fact, fingerprinting is a more concerning privacy concern than cookies. You can delete cookies at any time, but, unless you get a new device, you can’t escape your digital footprint. Another issue is the long string of characters some sites add when you copy a web address. Those identify you as well, and a browser extension called ClearURLs can help protect this kind of tracking.

How Can You Prevent Web Tracking?

A browser can take measures to protect you against these privacy infringements, but note that private browsing mode—variously called Incognito mode, InPrivate, or simply Private mode—usually doesn’t protect you against tracking. This mode usually just hides your activities from the local machine’s history.

Some browsers, such as Edge and Safari, block known fingerprinters based on blacklists, and Firefox is working on a behavioral blocking system that alerts you if a site tries to perform actions that look like fingerprinting—for example, trying to extract your hardware specs using the HTML Canvas feature. That experimental Firefox tool removes identifying data used by fingerprinters. The Brave browser, Avast Secure Browser, and Apple’s Safari already have features that obscure data such as “device and browser configuration, and fonts and plug-ins you have installed,” according to Apple’s site. 

Another privacy protection landing in browsers such as Firefox and Edge lately is support for more secure DNS protocols. That’s the system of servers that your browser contacts to translate text web addresses into their number equivalents that web servers use. By default, your ISP’s DNS servers provide this translation, but secure browsers now use DoH (DNS over HTTPS) to both encrypt the connection and to prevent your ISP from sending your unfound browsing requests to their search providers. For more on all this, read How (and Why) to Change Your DNS Server.

How Do You Know if You Are Trackable?

The EFF (Electronic Freedom Frontier) organization publishes a Cover Your Tracks webpage to test your browser’s susceptibility to tracking and fingerprinting. It uses a real tracking company—the name of which it does not reveal—for its tests. Be forewarned: It almost always reports that your browser has a unique fingerprint. Other tools you can use to see how unique your digital fingerprint is included AmIUnique and Device Info.

If you still want to use Chrome or another browser without much tracking protection, you have recourse in plugins that may help protect your privacy, such as Decentraleyes, DuckDuckGo, PrivacyBadger, or uBlock Origin.

As with everything in life, there’s no such thing as perfect security or privacy. But using one of these browsers can at least make it harder for entities to track your internet browsing, to different degrees. As always, if you have better solutions or disagreements, feel free to chime in below in our comments section.

Apple Safari

Apple Safari

 

Apple was one of the first major tech vendors to raise the profile of fingerprinting as a privacy concern, discussing it at WWDC 2018. The default browser for Apple devices, Safari, offers some protection against this type of tracking by presenting “a simplified version of the system configuration to trackers so more devices look identical, making it harder to single one out,” according to the company’s documentation.

Safari offers minimal settings for privacy and only gets a result of “some protection” and “some gaps” on the EFF Cover Your Tracks test. The “nearly” unique fingerprint result, however, is better than most browsers (even Firefox), for which the test reports “Your browser has a unique fingerprint.”

Platforms: macOS, iOS, iPadOS

Avast Secure Browser

Avast Secure Browser

 

Avast is one of the few browsers included here with built-in VPN functionality, but unlike that in Opera, using it will cost you $5.99 per month, with discounts for multi-year signups. Avast tells you that its VPN uses the open-source, industry-standard OpenVPN protocol. There’s a one-week free trial, too, that doesn’t require payment info, though Avast has offered free services before with questionable nonmonetary costs.

The browser also features built-in ad blocking, anti-phishing features, and a password manager. The default search provider is tracker-in-chief Google, but the EFF’s Cover Your Tracks tool reports strong tracking protection though with a unique (traceable) fingerprinting profile. The Chromium-based browser looks good and is compatible with most sites.

Platforms: Android, iOS, macOS, Window

Brave Privacy Browser

Brave Privacy Browser

 
Free at Google Play
See It

Brave is a browser with an emphasis on privacy and ad-blocking, but at the same time, it lets you earn cryptocurrency while you browse. Like most browsers these days (apart from Firefox, Tor, and Safari), Brave relies on a customized version of Chromium, the code that powers Google Chrome, meaning it’s compatible with most websites. Brave has higher goals than simply letting you hoard crypto or even protecting your privacy: Its creators want to achieve a revolution in the way web commerce works, with direct micropayments taking the place of rampant ads.

The EFF’s Cover Your Tracks tool reports “strong protection against Web tracking,” and the browser’s Shields block third-party tracking cookies and ads by default. Brave forces HTTPS (something common among recent browsers) and lets you choose between Standard and Aggressive tracker and adblocking. Brave also has advanced fingerprinting protections that do things like “randomizing the output of semi-identifying browser features” and turning off features commonly used to sniff device info. This meant that Brave was the only browser for which the EFF tool reported a randomized fingerprint.

To earn cryptocurrency rewards with Brave, the software periodically pops up an unobtrusive ad in a box outside the browser window—you can turn this off if you’d rather not see those. At one point, the Brave cryptocoin, called Basic Attention Token (BAT) increased by over 1,000% in value, though now it’s only up about 200 percent from its initial launch.

Platforms: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows

Bromite

Bromite

 

Bromite is an Android-only browser that’s a fork of Chromium—a fancy way to say it’s based on the code that underlies Google Chrome, edited to its needs. (Microsoft Edge is also Chromium-based.). According to the browser’s website, Bromite is a “no-clutter browsing experience without privacy-invasive features and with the addition of a fast ad-blocking engine.” It’s not on the Google Play Store, since it’s un-Googled to the extent the developers found possible. That means you need to allow installation of its APK (application package file) in your Android Settings.

Oddly, Bromium’s default search provider is Google, though you can change that to a private search provider like DuckDuckGo. Like Safari, Bromium earned the “nearly unique” fingerprint designation, compared to most browsers’ “unique” designation. That means it’s a little harder to identify you exactly. Bromite even offers its own Fingerprinting Mitigations Test Page, though interpreting its results isn’t intuitive. Otherwise, Bromite looks and works a lot like the Android version of Chrome.

Platforms: Android

DuckDuckGoo

DuckDuckGo

 

The famed private search provider also makes a standalone mobile web browser, and on the desktop,its DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials extension can help turn your browser into a privacy-focused piece of software. It blocks third-party trackers, switches your search engine to its privacy-focused one, forces sites to use an encrypted (HTTPS) connection where available, and lets you see a privacy score for sites you visit. The extension raised Chrome’s score on the EFF’s Cover Your Tracks tool to Strong Protection.

Platforms: Android, iOS, Extension for desktop browser

Epic Privacy Browser

Epic Privacy Browser

4.0

Like Opera, Epic Privacy Browser includes built-in VPN-like functionality with its encrypted proxy; this hides your IP address from the web at large. The company claims the Epic blocks ads, trackers, cryptomining, and even ultrasound signaling! It also blocks fingerprint tracking scripts and ads and prevents WebRTC. Unfortunately, the EFF’s Cover Your Tracks tool reports only partial protection against tracking ads and invisible trackers in Epic with default settings. (You see the same result that you get with Google Chrome: “Our tests indicate that you have some protection against Web tracking, but it has some gaps.”) When you tap Epic’s umbrella button to enable the built-in version of uBlock, the results improve to Strong Protection against web tracking.

The browser interface looks almost identical to that of Chrome, aside from the included privacy and proxy extension buttons. Otherwise, it lacks special convenience features found in competitors like Edge and Opera.

Platforms: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows

Epic Privacy Browser Review
Firefox

Firefox

4.5

Mozilla has long been at the forefront of trying to improve privacy on the web. The company even came up with the Do Not Track option for browsers, which Google swiftly rendered useless; that only makes sense for a company that bases much of its business on tracking users. Firefox was also the first browser with a private browsing mode that could hide browsing not only from people with access to your device but also from other sites.

Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection’s Standard-setting blocks social media trackers, cross-site tracking cookies, cross-site cookies in Private Windows, tracking content in Private Windows, cryptominers, and fingerprinters. The EFF’s Cover Your Tracks tool reports “strong protection against Web tracking” at this setting. Strict mode blocks trackers hidden in ads, videos, and other site content. The fingerprinting protection currently uses a list of known fingerprint trackers, but Mozilla is working on a future update that will make your browser look more undistinguishable to thwart fingerprinters.

Platforms: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux

Mozilla Firefox Review
Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge

4.0

The accursed Internet Explorer is finally far in the rear-view mirror, and even its initial Edge replacement has now been replaced with a truly modern Chromium-based Edge. The Microsoft team behind Edge had privacy as a top goal when developing the browser, along with customization and productivity features like its Collections for web research. The browser continues to innovate as Windows 11 approaches, with vertical tabs, forced HTTPS connections, sleeping tabs, performance boosts, and new accessibility features like enhanced contrast.

For privacy, Edge includes tracking protection at a choice of three levels: Basic, Balanced, and Strict. According to an Edge blog post, all levels block “trackers we detect as cryptomining or fingerprinting.” But there’s no attempt to make the browser appear more generic and less identifiable as some other browsers included here do. Edge also supports Secure DNS. Not in its favor, Edge does offer to personalize your advertising in Bing and Microsoft News; you can turn this off and visit your privacy dashboard to check your settings.

On the EFF’s Cover Your Tracks test, Edge gets a rating of “strong protection against Web tracking” but indicates you still have a unique, and therefore trackable, fingerprint.

Platforms: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows. (Linux version in beta)

Microsoft Edge Review
Opera

Opera

4.0

Opera has a long history of innovation among web browsers. The Norwegian software company was the first to include tabs and integrated search in a web browser, and an Opera developer invented CSS, just for starters. Now, it’s the only browser with a built-in VPN, and the company offers a gaming browser called Opera GX. PCMag’s VPN always corrects me when I say that Opera has a built-in VPN, saying it should be called a Proxy, not a VPN. The distinction is that a standard VPN cloaks your IP address from all the traffic from your computer, while Opera’s feature only applies to the browser itself. Opera states that it’s a no-logging VPN, which is something you should look for when choosing any VPN. It uses AES-256 encryption.

Opera also blocks ads and trackers by default, but it doesn’t have specific anti-fingerprinting features, aside from the list-based tracker blocking. With its Speed Dial and sidebar of quick-access buttons to things like messaging services and frequently visited sites, Opera still stands apart from most browsers in offering unique conveniences.

Platforms: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows

Opera Review
The Tor Browser

The Tor Browser

3.5

The Tor (“the onion router”) browser’s slogan is “Protect yourself against tracking, surveillance, and censorship.” It’s the ultimate in privacy protection in a browser, and the EFF’s privacy test reports “strong protection against Web tracking.” It provides a multi-step encrypted route for your browser that makes identifying you very difficult. The reason it provides more privacy than a VPN is that your encrypted traffic goes through at least three nodes. The first node it goes through knows the source but not the destination of the traffic, the middle ones know neither, and the last only knows the destination—making it nearly impossible to trace the traffic back to you. In a VPN, the VPN provider has access to both the origin (your browser) and the destination site you’re browsing to after the traffic leaves one of the company’s VPN servers—so you need to trust the VPN company you choose. Just as VPN exit nodes are known—which enables Netflix and the like to block people from using VPNs—the destinations know you’re using Tor, but not your originating identity.

The downside? It slows down your browsing drastically—even more than a VPN would since it goes through multiple hops between your device and the internet. That said, installing and starting up the Tor browser has gotten much simpler in recent years—both used to be multi-step processes. What’s more, if you crank up Tor to its safest level of protection and disable JavaScript, a lot of common sites won’t run—basically anything that features interactive content, such as YouTube. Tor lets you access sites that use its own onion protocol that’s separate from the standard web, often called the dark web, in addition to providing privacy and access to the standard web.

An even more private way to run Tor is through Tails—a lightweight operating system based on Ubuntu that you run off a USB drive. Tails don’t save any unencrypted data from your browsing session and leave no traces on your computer’s drive.

Platforms: Android, Linux, macOS, Windows

Tor Browser Review
Vivaldi

Vivaldi

3.5

Vivaldi, an offshoot of Opera that also uses the Chromium browser code, is the ultimate in customizability among browsers. It also includes some innovative features like built-in translation, split-window view, tab groups, notes, a link sidebar, and mouse gesture support.

Vivaldi includes built-in ad-blocking and tracker blocking, though it doesn’t specifically attempt to thwart fingerprinters. As with the rest of the browser’s features, privacy settings are deep, broad, and granular, as you can see in the screenshot above. The EFF’s Cover Your Tracks test reported “strong protection against Web tracking” for Vivaldi with tracking protection on, though it still reported a unique fingerprint.

Platforms: Android, Linux, macOS

[Source: This article was published in pcmag.com By Michael Muchmore - Uploaded by the Association Member: Logan Hochstetler]
Categorized in Search Engine

Pro-privacy browser Brave, which has been testing its own brand search engine for several months — operating a waitlist where brave (ha!) early adopters could kick the tires of an upstart alternative in internet search — has now launched the tool, Brave Search, in global beta.

Users interested in checking out Brave’s non-tracking search engine, which is built on top of an independent index and touted as a privacy-safe alternative to surveillance tech products like Google search, will find it via Brave’s desktop and mobile browsers. It can also be reached from other browsers via search.brave.com — so doesn’t require switching to Brave’s browser to use.

Brave Search is being offered as one of the multiple search options that users of the company’s eponymous browser can pick from (including Google’s search engine). But Brave says it will make it the default search in its browser later this year.

As we reported back in March, the company acquired technology and developers who had previously worked on Cliqz, a European anti-tracking search-browser combo that closed down in May 2020 — building on a technology they’d started to develop, called Tailcat, to form the basis of the Brave-branded search engine.

The (now beta) search engine has been tested by more than 100,000 “early access users” at this point, per Brave. It’s made this video ad to tout its “all in one” alternative to Google search + Chrome.

The company recently passed 32 million monthly active users (up from 25 million back in March) for its wider suite of products — which, as well as its flagship pro-privacy browser, includes a newsreader Firewall+VPN service.

Brave also offers privacy-preserving Brave Ads for businesses wanting to reach its community of privacy-preferring users.

Growing public awareness of surveillance-based business models has been building momentum for pro-privacy consumer tech for a number of years. And several players which started out with a strong focus on one particular pro-privacy product (such as a browser, search engine, or email) have been expanding into a full suite of products — all under the same non-tracking umbrella.

As well as Brave, there’s the likes of DuckDuckGo — which offers non-tracking search but also a tracker blocker and an email inbox protector tool, among other products, and reckons it now has between 70 million-100 million users overall; and Proton, the maker of E2E-encrypted email service ProtonMail but also a cloud calendar and file storage as well as a VPN. The latter recently confirmed passing 50 million users globally.

There is also Apple itself too, of course — a Big Tech giant that competes with Google and the adtech complex by promising users a privacy premium to drive sales of its hardware and services. (At the start of this year Apple said there are now over 1 billion iOS users globally — and more than 1.65 billion Apple devices.)

Tl;dr: The market for privacy consumer tech is growing.

Still, even Apple doesn’t try to compete against Google search, which perhaps underlines the scale of the challenge involved in trying to poach users from the search behemoth. (Albeit, Apple extracts massive payments from Google to preload the latter’s search engine onto iOS devices — which does conflict with [and complicate] its wider, pro-privacy, pro-user promises while also adding a nice revenue boost for Apple… ).

DuckDuckGo has, by contrast, been at the non-tracking search coalface for years — and turning a profit since 2014. Though clearly not in the same profit league as Apple. But, more recently, it’s also taken in rare tranches of external funding as its investors spy growing opportunities for private search.

Other signs of expanding public appetite to protect people’s information from commercial snoopers include the surge of usage for E2E-encrypted alternatives to Facebook-owned WhatsApp — such as Signal — which saw a download spike earlier this year after the advertising giant announced unilateral changes to WhatsApp’s terms of service.

Credible players that have amassed a community of engaged users around a core user privacy promise are well-positioned to ride each new wave of privacy interest — and cross-sell a suite of consumer products where they’ve been able to expand their utility. Hence Brave believing the time is right for it to dabble in search.

Commenting in a statement, Brendan Eich, CEO, and co-founder of Brave said: “Brave Search is the industry’s most private search engine, as well as the only independent search engine, giving users the control and confidence they seek in alternatives to Big Tech. Unlike older search engines that track and profile users and newer search engines that are mostly skin on older engines and don’t have their own indexes, Brave Search offers a new way to get relevant results with a community-powered index, while guaranteeing privacy. Brave Search fills a clear void in the market today as millions of people have lost trust in the surveillance economy and actively seek solutions to be in control of their data.”

Brave touts its eponymous search offering as having a number of differentiating features versus rivals (including smaller rivals) — such as its own index, which it also says gives it independence from other search providers.

Why is having an independent index important? We put that question to Josep M. Pujol, chief of search at Brave, who told us: “There are plenty of incentives for censorship and biases, either by design, or what is even more difficult to combat, unintentional. The problem of search, and how people access the web, is that it is a mono-culture, and everybody knows that while it’s very efficient, it’s also very dangerous. A single disease can kill all the crops. The current landscape is not fail-tolerant, and this is something that even users are becoming aware of. We need more choices, not to replace Google or Bing, but to offer alternatives. More choices will entail more freedom and also get back to real competition, with checks and balances.

“Choice can only be achieved by being independent, as if we do not have our own index, then we are just a layer of paint on top of Google and Bing, unable to change much or anything in the results for users’ queries. Not having your own index, as with certain search engines, gives the impression of choice, but in reality, such engine ‘skins’ are the same players as the big two. Only by building our own index, which is a costly proposition, will we be in a position to offer true choice to the users for the benefit of all, whether they are Brave Search users or not.”

Although, for now, it’s worth noting that Brave is relying on some provision from other search providers — for specific queries and in areas like image search (where, for example, it says it’s currently fetching results from Microsoft-owned Bing) — to ensure its results achieve adequate relevancy.

Elsewhere it also says it’s relying upon anonymized contributions from the community to improve and refine results — and is seeking to live up to wider transparency claims vis-à-vis the search index (which it also claims has “no secret methods or algorithms to bias results”; and for which it will “soon” be offering community-curated open ranking models to ensure diversity and prevent algorithmic biases and outright censorship”).

In another transparency step, Brave is reporting the percentage of users’ queries that are independent by showing what it bills as “the industry’s first search independence metric” — meaning it displays the ratio of results coming exclusively from its own index.

“It is derived privately using the user’s browser as we do not build user profiles,” Brave notes in a press release. “Users can check this aggregate metric to verify the independence of their results and see how results are powered by our own index, or if third-parties are being used for long-tail results while we are still in the process of building our index.”

It adds that Brave Search will “typically be answering most queries, reflected by a high independence metric”. Although if you’re performing an image search, for example, you’ll see the independence metric take a hit (but Brave confirms this will not result in any tracking of users).

Transparency] is a key principle at Brave, and there will also be a global independence metric for Brave Search across all searches, which we will make publicly available to show how we are progressing towards complete independence,” it adds.

 

On the monetization side, Brave says it will “soon” be offering both a paid ad-free version of search in the future and an ad-supported free version — while still pledging “fully anonymous” search. Though it specifies that it won’t be flipping the ad switch during the early beta phase.

“We will offer options for both ad-free paid search and ad-supported free search later,” it notes. “When we are ready, we will explore bringing private ads with BAT revenue share to search, as we’ve done for Brave user ads.”

Users of the search engine who do not also use Brave’s own browser will be served contextual ads.

“In Brave Search via the browser, strong privacy guarantees for opt-in ads are a norm and a brand value that we uphold,” adds Pujol, confirming that users of its search and browser are likely to get the same type of ad targeting.

Asked about the pricing of the forthcoming ad-free version of the search engine he says: “Although we have not finalized the launch date or the price yet, our ad-free paid search will be affordable because we believe search, and access to information, should be available on fair terms for everyone.”

In an interesting recent development in Europe, Google — under pressure from antitrust regulators — has agreed to ditch a pay-to-play auction model for the choice screen it offers regional users of its Android platform, letting them pick a default search engine from a list with a number of rivals and its own brand Google search. The move should expand the number of alternative search engines to which Android users in Europe are exposed — and could help chip away at some of Google’s search market share.

Brave previously told us it would not participate in Google’s paid auction — but Pujol says that if the new model is “truly free to participate” it will likely take part in the future.

“Google and free-to-participate seem difficult to believe, given plenty of precedents but if this model is indeed truly free to participate, without contracts or nondisclosure agreements, then we would likely participate,” he says. “After all, Brave Search is open to everyone who would like to use it, and we are open and happy to put Brave Search on any platform.”

“We have localized browsers throughout the European market, so in addition to growth via the Brave browser growing, we intend to grow Brave Search’s usage by marketing our best-in-class privacy on all media that reach prospective users,” he adds.

[Source: This article was published in techcrunch.com By Natasha Lomas - Uploaded by the Association Member: Martin Grossner]
Categorized in Search Engine

Even just to remind the world there's life beyond Google and DuckDuckGo

Having rebelled against Google's web hegemony with a privacy-focused browser and a crypto token-based monetization system, Brave Software opened a second competitive front on Tuesday with the beta launch of Brave Search.

Brave has managed to attract more than 32 million monthly active users to its alternative browser that's similar to Google Chrome – is based on its open-source Chromium foundation – but is still distant enough on the privacy continuum to avoid being overshadowed.

"Brave Search is the industry’s most private search engine, as well as the only independent search engine, giving users the control and confidence they seek in alternatives to big tech,” said Brendan Eich, CEO, and co-founder of Brave, in a statement. 

"Unlike older search engines that track and profile users and newer search engines that are mostly a skin on older engines and don’t have their own indexes, Brave Search offers a new way to get relevant results with a community-powered index, while guaranteeing privacy."

Brave Search isn't intended to replace Google Search, at least at this point, but it does represent an attempt to convince internet users that search can function well without surrendering data.

Eich is throwing down the gauntlet not just to Google, but also to the likes of DuckDuckGo, another company that's made headway against the search giant by promoting privacy.

DuckDuckGo says it uses some 400 different sources to inform its search index, though its reliance on Microsoft Bing became evident when the disappearance of a politically sensitive image in Redmond's product earlier this month was reflected in DuckDuckGo and other alternative search engines.

Brave Search uses on its own community-generated index, based on the Tailcat search engine acquired from unsuccessful Chrome-challenger Cliqz. But it also provides a way to make queries through Google, Bing, and other search services in the form of a "Find elsewhere" section below its homegrown search results list.

In its current form, Brave Search works pretty well. The Register has not had the opportunity to test it thoroughly but we found it returned useful results for most queries we tried.

In one case where we felt motivated to take our query elsewhere, the Brave Search results page's "Find elsewhere" link presented the following prompt seeking permission to submit the keywords to Google: "For queries where Brave Search is not yet refined, your browser will anonymously check Google for the same query, mix the results for you and send the query data back to us so we can improve Brave Search for everyone."

Brave presents its independent index as a point of differentiation with DuckDuckGo, though it may not be 100 percent independent. The company explains that it relies on anonymized contributions from its community to improve its search results.

"However, there are types of queries, as well as certain areas such as image search, for which our results are not relevant enough yet, and in those cases, we are using APIs until we are able to expand our index," the company said in its Brave Search announcement. "The Brave Search independence metric is a progress bar, and our goal is to achieve greater independence and better quality without compromising the privacy of our users."

Get paid for watching ads soon

And to distinguish itself from Google Search, Brave claims to provide privacy and anonymity when searching, and transparency in how its search results are ranked. Presently, Brave offers a Transparency Report, though the page does not yet provide a way to review its "community-curated open ranking models" [PDF], said to be coming soon.

In time, however, the distance between the two companies may dwindle – Brave isn't currently serving ads in its search results but the plan is to offer both ad-free paid search and free ad-supported search that will include private ads that share revenue with ad viewers via Brave Attention Tokens (BAT).

Asked how Brave intends to deal with efforts to manipulate its search results – a persistent issue for Google – Josep Pujol, chief of Search at Brave, told The Register in an email that abuse hasn't been a problem yet.

"But we do expect bad actors to try to alter rankings, from SEO game players to censors," he said. "We do have some tech in the pipeline based on prior work at Cliqz to prevent data pollution [PDF]. Also, it is worth noting that Brave is already solving this kind of problem effectively in the form of anti-fraud for our private ad ecosystem."

Pujol, however, did acknowledge that Brave has to deal with index pollution, just like everyone else.

"We try to have the cleanest index possible, where only Web content that people engage with is indexed," he said. "However, objectionable content is also present in our index, including child sexual abuse material. For such problematic content, we scrub at query-time via filters, and we are working hard to strengthen them."

At this point, it's still too early to tell how Brave Search will be received, but Pujol promised there will be queries per month (QPM) statistics added to Brave's transparency page in the future.

"Right now we are in the first day of public beta and in heavy building mode, but we were pleased to see over 100,000 people join our waitlist for the preview release and testing phase leading up to the beta," he said. ®

[Source: This article was published in theregister.com By Thomas Claburn - Uploaded by the Association Member: Grace Irwin]
Categorized in Search Engine

Google Chrome is known to be one of the mobile browsers that are most easily used. There are, however, a variety of elements that cannot be found or used quickly. Google’s web Chrome browser is testing a new feature. Shortly, the search engine giant is creating a Chrome Video Tutorials to help new users familiarise themselves with the app, how-to browser.

Google Tests Chrome Browser Video Tutorials for Android Mobile Users

According to a report from PhoneArena, Google Chrome users will watch a video tutorial to understand the browser’s functions. This functionality is designed into the app and is now being tested or stable on the mobile browser that can right now be enabled from the Google Play Store on the Android smartphone. It contains the Chrome Canary application and the Chrome Dev app that allows users to access features the company checks and later arrive on live builds. These guides are for new users who don’t know the app and its features. Chrome Android users will watch a video tutorial explaining the browser features on the app’s home page.

The video tutorial was first noticed through Chrome Story, a platform that tracks the development of Google Chrome. A new flag is found inside the Dev and Canary channels of the Google Chrome Android app in the Chrome Story report. The flag is known as #video tutorials. When the flag is set to ‘Enabled,’ a new card will be shown on a new Chrome tab page for videos below the site shortcuts. The card shows many videos, and tapping any will play the video for users. The option also asks you to use your chosen language before playing a video, as seen in a clip-on Chrome Story. On top of each video, there is also a sharing button that allows users to share videos with just one tap.

The report says that the videos used for Chrome Dev and Canary channels are videos from placeholders from Google, with tutorials on the main screen already accessible. However, titles in the complete list of videos found in Chrome Dev and Canary editions indicate that these videos’ completion includes topics such as “How to use Chrome.”

 [Source: This article was published in phoneworld.com.pk By Sehrish Kayani - Uploaded by the Association Member: Rene Meyer]

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published qz.com By Dave Gershgorn - Contributed by Member: Dennis Smith

Ten years into its life, Chrome is the most widely-used internet browser in the world. But the stock features aren’t what make it so popular. There’s also a thriving community of developers adding onto the browser with extensions, little pieces of software that add features Google hasn’t dreamt up yet.

The Quartz staff like their extensions. After all, we all spend a borderline unhealthy amount of time on the internet, whether it be researching, writing, or fact-checking stories. Here are the ways our favorites have helped us out:

Clutter/tab maintenance

If you’re like us, you have way too many tabs open. The holy trinity of tab maintenance can help: The Great Suspender pauses tabs after a certain amount of time so they don’t use processing power in the background, OneTab is great for condensing all the tabs you’re keeping open “to read later” into one summary tab, and Clutter Freemakes sure you don’t have duplicate tabs open.

Productivity

Sometimes you want to jot down a quick note but don’t want to open a word processor. Papier turns each new tab’s homepage into a notebook for recording quick thoughts or distraction-free writing. And everything is backed up to Chrome, so you won’t lose it later.

Search

The Personal Blocklist extension, made by Google, filters out certain domains from your searches, so if you don’t like a certain site you don’t need to see it. (Keep qz.com, please.) A Quartz developer says that it’s useful to block out certain unhelpful sites when Googling through a web development problem.

Writing

Sometimes a hand you need with grammar. Grammarly.

News

Use Pocket to save good stories and NewsGuard to fend against bad ones. Quartz science editor Elijah Wolfson also sends longer stories he really wants to read to his Kindle using Push to Kindle. It’s distraction-free reading at its best, with no notifications or ads or messages.

Password management

A password manager is just basic internet hygiene—use one to maintain strong passwords for every one of your internet accounts. The most popular ones are 1Password, LastPass, and Dashlane— there are pros and cons to each, and the Quartz staff uses them all. Just remember the master password—your digital life depends on it.

Archive search

Once it’s on the internet, it lives forever. That’s pretty much due to Archive.org, which stores decades of revisions to websites, as well as preserved copies of sites that don’t exist anymore. The Wayback Machine extension allows you to see saved versions of web pages that have been either taken down or are otherwise unavailable, a boon to any internet historian.

Money Saver

Get around academic paywalls with extensions like Kopernio and Unpaywall, which search for accessible PDFs of the paper online. Or, find out if you’re actually getting a good deal with a price tracker like CamelCamelCamel.

GIFs

My trustiest Chrome extension is called MakeGIF, and it’s very simple. It makes GIFs. It’s particularly good at capturing and converting YouTube videos.

Fun

Inject a little bit of simple internet nostalgia into your life with Tabogotchi, which makes a game out of how many tabs you have open, or Tabby Cat, which generates an internet cat you can virtually pet for every tab you open.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published cbsnews.com - Contributed by Member: Bridget Miller

Even if "Location History" is off on your phone, Google often still stores your precise location.

Here are some things you can do to delete those markers and keep your location as private as possible. But there's no panacea because simply connecting to the internet on any device flags an IP address, a numeric designation that can be geographically mapped. Smartphones also connect to cell towers, so your carrier knows your general location at all times.

To prevent further tracking

For any device:

Fire up your browser and go to myactivity.google.com . Sign into Google if you haven't already. On the upper left drop-down menu, go to "Activity Controls." Turn off both "Web & App Activity" and "Location History." That should prevent precise location markers from being stored to your Google account.

Google will warn you that some of its services won't work as well with these settings off. In particular, neither the Google Assistant, a digital concierge, nor the Google Home smart speaker will be particularly useful.

On iOS:

If you use Google Maps, adjust your location setting to "While Using" the app; this will prevent the app from accessing your location when it's not active. Go to Settings - Privacy - Location Services and from there select Google Maps to make the adjustment.

In the Safari web browser, consider using a search engine other than Google. Under Settings - Safari - Search Engine, you can find other options like Bing or DuckDuckGo. You can turn location off while browsing by going to Settings - Privacy - Location Services - Safari Websites, and turn this to "Never." (This still won't prevent advertisers from knowing your rough location based on IP address on any website.)

You can also turn Location Services off to the device almost completely from Settings - Privacy - Location Services. Both Google Maps and Apple Maps will still work, but they won't know where you are on the map and won't be able to give you directions. Emergency responders will still be able to find you if the need arises.

On Android:

Under the main settings icon click on "Security & location." Scroll down to the "Privacy" heading. Tap "Location." You can toggle it off for the entire device.

Use "App-level permissions" to turn off access to various apps. Unlike the iPhone, there is no setting for "While Using." You cannot turn off Google Play services, which supplies your location to other apps if you leave that service on.

Sign in as a "guest" on your Android device by swiping down from the top and tapping the downward-facing caret, then again on the torso icon. Be aware of which services you sign in on, like Chrome.

You can also change search engines even in Chrome.

To delete past location tracking

For any device:

On the page myactivity.google.com , look for any entry that has a location pin icon beside the word "details." Clicking on that pops up a window that includes a link that sometimes says "From your current location." Clicking on it will open Google Maps, which will display where you were at the time.

You can delete it from this popup by clicking on the navigation icon with the three stacked dots and then "Delete."

Some items will be grouped in unexpected places, such as topic names, google.com, Search, or Maps. You have to delete them item by item. You can wholesale delete all items in date ranges or by service but will end up taking out more than just location markers.

Categorized in How to

There was a time when the majority used Firefox as their favorite internet browser. Times changed, and Google Chrome took the lead. Now Firefox has returned with their updated browser, Firefox Quantum. Not only this, but an update to the browser is coming as well, set to introduce new features.

The new Firefox, termed Firefox 59, shall help you block that pesky notification at the top bar asking for permission to send you further notifications in the future. Not everyone likes notifications to appear unwantedly. Not only this, if a website wants to know your location, the new Firefox can stop that notification too.

The only disappointment is that you shall have to wait for Firefox to get updated to its new version unless you do some digging on your own. Yes, it’s perfectly possible for you to implement these new features which also includes, shutting off the notification by a website asking for Webcam access right now with your own build, with a little bit of tweaking though.

All you need to do is delve into Firefox’s “about:config” and you will find a plethora of settings you can change to your will.

Tired of the Notification Requests? Problem Solved!

Sites ask you to allow or block them from sending you notification just like your smartphone does. For some, it is a really handy feature who want to stay updated every time, but not everyone likes their screen to show a pop up every now and then about some “Jack commented on Drake’s post” blah blah. If you are tired of keeping on blocking every such website from sending you a notification, then there is a simple way to do this to block such notifications to come in the first place forever.


Just open up your Firefox search bar, and type “about:config” and press Enter. A new page shall come up which shall give you a warning about tweaking with Firefox’s advanced settings. Just click on the I accept the risk button. Now there would be a search bar on the new screen that comes. If there isn’t just press CTRL+F to bring up the search bar. Type in “dom.push.enabled”. Double click on it. This shall modify it’s value to false. The default setting is true, and after turning it to false by doing such, you won’t get Notification Requests from now on.

In case you want to revert the setting just do exactly same as above toggling it to True.

Location Requests are pesky too, right?

Location Requests are more commonly asked by sites such as weather, transport, or even search engines to bring up tailored content. But then some might consider it as an invasion of their privacy as well. The best alternative is to just block location requests forever so that you don’t accidentally allow them. To do this just go to “about:config” again and search for “geo.enabled”.

Again double clicking on it would set it’s Boolean value to false. To revert the changes, just repeat the steps toggling it to true.

All those chat sites requiring camera and microphone requests

If you frequently visit online chat sites or use social messaging platforms, then you would be bothered by such requests as well. To avoid these requests, just head to “about:config” again and search for “media.navigator.enabled”. Now double click on it to toggle it to off. Do the same with “media.peerconnection.enabled” In case you want to change these settings to default, just repeat the steps toggling them to True.

Source: This article was published factschronicle.com By MICHAEL LOWRY

Categorized in Search Engine

Mozilla rolled out a major update to its Firefox web browser on Tuesday with a bevy of new features, and one old frenemy: Google.

In a blog post, Mozilla said Firefox’s default search engine will be Google in the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The agreement recalls a similar, older deal that was scuttled when Firefox and Google’s Chrome web browser became bitter rivals. Three years ago, Mozilla switched from Google to Yahoo as the default Firefox search provider in the U.S. after Yahoo agreed to pay more than $300 million a year over five years — more than Google was willing to pay.

The new Firefox deal could boost Google’s already massive share of the web-search market. When people use Firefox, Google’s search box will be on the launch page, prompting users to type in valuable queries that Google can sell ads against. But the agreement also adds another payment that Alphabet’s Google must make to partners that send online traffic to its search engine, a worrisome cost for shareholders.

 

 

It’s unclear how much Google paid to reclaim this prized digital spot. A Google spokeswoman confirmed the deal but declined to comment further, and Mozilla didn’t disclose financial details.

As Google’s ad sales keep rising, so too has the amount it must dole out to browsers, mobile device makers and other distribution channels to ensure that Google’s search, video service and digital ads are seen. Those sums, called Traffic Acquisition Costs or TAC, rose to $5.5 billion during the third quarter, or 23 percent of ad revenue.

Last quarter, the increase in TAC was primarily due to “changes in partner agreements,” Google Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said on the earnings call. She declined to disclose specific partners. A lot of these payments go to Apple, which runs Google search as the default on its Safari browser. In September, Apple added Google search as the default provider for questions people ask Apple’s voice-based assistant Siri, replacing Microsoft’s Bing. In the third quarter, the TAC Google paid to distribution partners, like Apple, jumped 54 percent to $2.4 billion.

Google is likely paying Mozilla less than Apple for search rights. In 2014, Yahoo’s then-Chief Executive Officer, Marissa Mayer, lobbied heavily for the Firefox deal by agreeing to pay $375 million a year, according to regulatory filings. Google paid $1 billion to Apple in 2014 to keep its search bar on iPhones, according to court records.

Firefox once commanded roughly a fourth of the web browser market, but its share has slid in recent years. It now controls 6 percent of the global market, according to research firm Statcounter. Apple’s Safari holds 15 percent followed by Alibaba’s UC Browser with 8 percent. Google’s Chrome browser has 55 percent of the market.

Source: This article was published siliconvalley.com By Mark Bergen

Categorized in Search Engine

Mozilla has unveiled a new browser called Firefox Quantum, which is supposedly twice as fast as the older version of the program as it uses a new core engine, coupled with the significantly reduced use of memory space. Firefox Quantum represents the largest upgrade Mozilla has made to its web browser since it rolled out version 1.0 of Firefox thirteen years ago. The new version of Firefox is now rolling out to desktop and laptop computers running Windows, Linux or Mac, as well as mobile devices powered by Android and iOS.

One of the most noticeable upgrades that comes with Firefox Quantum is that opening a website or web page happens very quickly, with the current tab no longer showing the rotating icon for page loads in most cases. The non-profit organization boasts of Firefox Quantum as the fastest browser compared to all other browsers it produced in the past. As well as the improved speed, the new Firefox browser also includes a fresh user interface called Photon, which gained its new look based on the way internet users surfed the web, thanks to Mozilla’s user research team which conducted the study. Mozilla said a lot of work has been brought into play as part of the development efforts for Firefox Quantum. For instance, over 700 authors have written code for Firefox since its initial release in August, with contributions from some 80 other code authors from across the globe. A beta versionof Firefox Quantum went live in September, having already demonstrated significantly improved performance. In fact, Mozilla backed its claim with a web test benchmark called Speedometer 2.0 as well as a video clip showcasing that Firefox Quantum performed better than Google Chrome.

Additionally, Mozilla also introduced a new CSS engine to the browser called Stylo, which uses hardware with multiple cores that work best for tasks that require less power. Additionally, although subtle, Firefox Quantum prioritizes a tab that a user is on above the rest by optimizing system resources. As to the default search engine for the browser, users in the United States and Canada will have Google as the automatic search tool once they launch Firefox Quantum. This is after Mozilla teamed up with Google to provide its search engine as the default option for Firefox in the United States, Canada, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, though users can also browse with other search engines of their choice as usual.

Source: This article was published androidheadlines.com By Manny Reyes

Categorized in Search Engine

There’s no shortage of web browsers tempting those who want a new browsing experience. Google’s Chrome browser leads the pack, followed by Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and many, many more.

Chances are you’ve heard of these, and maybe tried them all. Now, though, there’s a new browser on the scene, trying to push through the crowd to get into the cool group. It’s called Vivaldi, and its roots stem from Opera, the plucky underdog of the web browsing world which, if you ask many long-time users, went off the rails. The Vivaldi web browser was born to calm those disgruntled Opera natives. It accomplishes much more than that.

What exactly is a Vivaldi?

The Opera browser was once based on Presto, a proprietary browser and layout engine developed by Opera Software. In February of 2013, however, the company decided to jump on the Chromium bandwagon and completely re-write its browserfrom scratch to use an engine called “Blink,” introduced to the Chromium project in April of 2013.

Released as Opera 15 in May of 2013, the overhaul angered many users given a number of distinct features were dropped. By then, Opera Software co-founder and former CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner had already left the company, and moved on to form Vivaldi Technologies at the end of 2013. He set out to pick up where Opera 14 ended, providing features power users want in an entirely new browser.

vivaldi web browser best youve never tried main

Drawing inspiration from Italian Baroque composer and virtuoso violinist Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, Tetzchner and his team created Vivaldi on the open-source Chromium browser engine, which powers Google Chrome, Chrome OS, Opera, and similar browsers outside the Mozilla and Microsoft fold.

That means it uses the Blink layout engine to “compose” web pages in the browser window, just like the latest release of Opera. Unlike Opera, though, Vivaldi was built to support a broad range of features that today’s streamlined, purpose-built browsers have ditched.

Power users need apply

Google Chrome is often preferred by people who consider themselves power users, yet most of what makes it powerful isn’t part of the browser. There’s no default option to make the interface your own, save for installing themes that can be downloaded through the Chrome Store. There’s no way to natively take in-browser notes. It has no native mouse gesture-based commands. There’s no native Reader View – and so on. Power users instead gain features through extensions, which do the job, but can slow and clutter the browser as they’re piled on, as well as pose a security risk.

Vivaldi offers these features without using extensions by default. It aims to make the most out of your internet use by providing tools to make the experience easier, more manageable, and intelligent. That comes with a price — a slight reduction in size of the main browser window. You might consider that an acceptable trade, though, if you’re interested in using the web to do more than order a pair of socks from Amazon.

Vivaldi aims to make the most out of your internet use by providing tools to make the experience easier, more manageable, and intelligent.

Vivaldi’s default layout includes a slim Panel residing to the left providing four specific tools — Bookmarks, Downloads, Notes, and History – that you can hide if not used. Along the bottom is the thin Status Bar for taking screenshots, tiling/stacking pages, managing images, and adjusting the zoom. In the top-left corner, a slick Vivaldi logo hides all the menus, such as File, View, and Tools. These options, which tend to be obscured into menus in other browsers, take up space here.

That said, Vivaldi is visually clean despite its visible Panel and Status Bar. That’s where the Vivaldi name really takes off, as you become the composer of the interface. Many elements can be re-arranged in the “Settings” window, such as positioning all tabs in a vertical tower, and moving the address bar to the bottom.

Your composition doesn’t stop there. With Vivaldi, you can “compose” your own themes. This includes changing the colors of the background, foreground, highlights, and accents. You can also toggle on the “adaptive” theme, which will change the browser’s colors to match the current website. In a sense, Vivaldi can become your own visual masterpiece.

The Settings panel reveals its real depth

Outside the visual composition, Vivaldi’s “Settings” window digs deep into the power user’s toolbox. You’ll find a tool for customizing keyboard shortcuts spanning handy Window, View, Tab, and Page commands. You’ll also find a tool to compose mouse gestures that you define based on set commands. For instance, you can assign a specific motion to open a new tab, reload a page, or rewind the history. By default, gestures will only execute if you are pressing the right mouse button during the process. Using the ALT key as an alternative is ideal when using a laptop’s trackpad.

Vivaldi’s heavy “power user” aspect isn’t just locked to the “Settings” window. Hit the F2 key, and you can type anything into the Quick Command text field to perform a search using the browser’s default search engine. This window also provides a long list of commands that can be executed in the text field, such as accessing the browser’s built-in Task Manager, importing bookmarks from another installed browser, and more.

Another notable power user feature resides in the History section of the browser’s Start Page. Not only will you see all the places you’ve visited via links, but three graphs showing your browsing habits. They display your page views, page transition percentages, and a list of the top domains visited in an easily-read fashion.

It’s ideal for students, office workers, and designers

One of Vivaldi’s most unique extras is the Notes feature, found on the Panel. Vivaldi lets you type notes within a small window embedded in the expanded Panel while you browse the internet. These notes can include attached files stored locally on your PC, full screenshots, links, and a specific capture of a selected area.

Another nifty, time-saving tool is Vivaldi’s Web Panel feature. Web Panels aren’t exactly bookmarks, but are instead meant for websites that serve as tools, such as Wikipedia, online dictionaries, RSS feeds, and whatnot. Web Panels open within the Panel, and do not include address bars.

Finally, we must point out Vivaldi’s nifty tab stacking and tiling features. We crammed seven tabs into our stack, and accessed each one by hovering the cursor over the stack’s main tab, which rendered a thumbnail view of all stacked windows. This is good for grouping multiple pages together under a single tab, rather than having eight or more tabs strung along the top.

Meanwhile, the tiling feature essentially stuffs up to four websites into a single window. The Page Tiling button resides on the Status Bar, which provides options to Tile Vertically, Tile Horizontally, or Tile to Grid. In this case, you can just view up to four pages simultaneously rather than switch between tabs, or dig out a tab in a stack.

You should give Vivaldi a try

We could go on about the Vivaldi browser, but we’ve outlined the basics. Vivaldi is a web surfer’s complete toolbox, packed with gadgets you probably didn’t even know you needed. It’s a browser that you can move into, and make your own.

Give Vivaldi a shot. It’s completely free, so the only expense is the time you spend giving it a test drive.

Source: This article was published digitaltrends.com By Kevin Parrish

Categorized in Search Engine
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