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The browser “Brave” loads major news sites 2x – 8x faster (brave.com)
104 points by mathiasrw 6 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 57 comments

And similarly for Firefox with Tracking Protection turned on. The speed gains come from reducing the amount that's downloaded and rendered or executed:


You can set Firefox's Tracking Protection to "always" so it's on all the time, inside and outside of private browsing mode.

People who do that might like Firefox Focus, which ships with tracking protection, adblocking, and no history by default: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/mobile/#focus

I like the effort, but I think their target is slighty off. The privacy with regards to the network (ads, tracking, fingerprinting, etc.) and the privacy with regards to other users of the same machine (browsing history, downloads, etc.) are orthogonal. FireFox Focus lumps them together into one, just like FireFox private mode. I think they should be seperated. I want locally all the convenience of usability, but towards the outside all the protection and privacy features. FireFox doesn't offer that :-/

I honestly love the package as it is for this very reason - the browsing experience is top notch, and the ephemeral nature of cookies, open sites etc. keeps me off the phone, and social media in particular.

I like it so much that I can't help but dream with Focus for desktop. I realized most of the times the browser can be amnesic (maybe should?) and completely involve websites in private bubbles with mitigations.

The robust version of the browser ends up being the home of long therm, trustworthy pages.

Sorry, j_4, reply was to parent.

My client is broken, it was meant to you. Hope this one goes to the right place.

Install Privacy Badger? https://www.eff.org/privacybadger

I use this almost exclusively. Couple of weird things that I don't like:

There's no accessible "new tab" option without long pressing a hyperlink. If I want to open a new tab (so I don't lose my current page) and web search for something, I do it by long pressing any hyperlink on the current page.

Also, tabs are reloaded every time they're brought to focus, so I can't queue up three or four tabs to read later in a moment where I don't have data service (subway train, remote area, etc).

Oh, and oddly, they also have a "send usage data" option in Settings. Seems pretty contrary to the general purpose of the browser, but what do I know.

I belive the tab generation constraints are a feature! They are meant to avoid the clutter most browsers become. Seriously, tabs are extremely overrated. Focus on something, delete it or archive it (Pocket, Instapaper, org, etc) and tag it, move on with a clean slate. This way you are always 100% focused on the task at hand. You leave archiving to archiving tools and not to tabs.

I agree on your last point though. Mozilla's heavy dependence on user data (and aggressive decisions like opt-out telemetry) goes against their speech. I choose to share with Mozilla if I trust them. But they understand "collected with permission" to be "poweruser data" and they want to suck information from the "other users". And that drug is a dangerous one when you point fingers all the time at others addicted to the same thing. In Focus it is plain wrong. "Here, we help you block tracking by everyone, since it is evil, except from us, cause sugar".

My biggest gripe is probably a lack of find-on-page. It's on a roadmap, somewhere, but no idea when it will land.

Or Firefox Klar, the German version (UI is still localized, I think the difference is that even telemetry is disabled?)

Thought it was just a weird version of Focus.

Works pretty well on Firefox for iOS, but it blocks twitter embeds (sometimes just their images and other media content).

Buy a $35 Raspberry Pi and setup Pi-hole; now all of your browsers are fast, as well as your mobile phones, TVs, and other devices.

I prefer Firefox and derivatives because I can hack the guts to make it do what I want. I also run uBlock Origin, Decentraleyes, Privacy Badger, No Coin, and others. I also block HTTP/S referrer, visited links (history visbile to websites), geo location, WebRTC (prevents sites from seeing your private address schema), and others. I also use a proxy server that allows me to appear from different regions. I also block access to font discovery. Yes, I realise this creates a unique "fingerprint" of my systems, but I've never had malware, or rogue Javascript.

This is done for all devices on my network under my control. Needless to say, with the Pi-hole and other settings, speed and bandwidth are great. Highly recommended.

+1 for pihole, the difference between home and public browsing on my phone is striking. Considering setting up a vpn with proxy to have this functionality all the time

I run pi-hole on my server and it's been great. Family loves it too which is always good when it comes time to hinting around that I need to do some upgrades.

From the FAQ, this is just chromium + an ad blocker + something called Brave Payments that's suppose to support publishers with micropayments.. and there's an ad system you can opt into (https://basicattentiontoken.org/).

It seems to me that the last two are what's unique.. I think they would have greater success by refocusing on those and just developing plugins for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Getting everyone to install a browser seems like an uphill battle.

You should actually give it a shot. It’s so much more than that, it’s simply so much more than you could do with a Chrome extension.

It has privacy in mind to its core.

As an example, in a recent interview Brendan Eich mentioned that they are working on making private browsing tabs go through tor in order to make them truly private.

If they do that, they better not forget to enable "http nowhere" in those tabs, or people will be in for a bad surprise.

They already "upgrade" web pages to https by default.

Brave is a start up that is the same thing as a combination of add-ons at its core. I'm sure they have people working on creating a real browser, but personally I'd rather those people work with Firefox if they aren't going to bring any real innovation to the difficult parts of making a browser

As I mentioned previously (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16138524), Brave isn't just a bunch of plugins.

I would argue that integrating the blocking of tracking, cryptocurrency mining and fingerprinting scripts in the core of a browser is an innovation.

And using zero knowledge proofs and machine learning to learn a user’s browsing habits without leaking personal information (or fingerprinting your browser) is an innovation. So is the integration of a micropayments system and wallet.

Also, unlike using traditional ad blocking extensions, you don’t get those annoying popups from websites wining about how they need the ads to generate revenue and asking the user to possibly whitelist their site… while they’re using scripts that track your movement all over the web.

Brave is starting where Firefox should have evolved to regarding user privacy and a way to support publishers and content creators without ads as we know them.

From the FAQ, this is just chromium + an ad blocker + something called Brave Payments that's suppose to support publishers with micropayments

Not available yet, but you’ll be able to opt-in to ads that will relevant to you based on Brave’s use of zero knowledge proofs and machine learning to learn what matters to you. You’ll also be paid 70% of the ad revenue to watch them.

You’ll also have the option to pay content creators (including YouTubers) with Basic Attention Tokens (BAT), a utility token based on Ethereum’s ERC-20 standard: https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/basic-attention-token/

Brave is seeding the BAT ecosystem by regular User Growth Pool (UGP) donations; they gave 300,000 BAT last month--$221,970 at the current price--and another one is expected soon.

"Brave grants 300,000 crypto tokens to browser users”: https://basicattentiontoken.org/brave-grants-300000-crypto-t...

I think they would have greater success by refocusing on those and just developing plugins for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Getting everyone to install a browser seems like an uphill battle.

Brave doesn’t only do ad blocking; it also handles tracking, cryptocurrency mining and fingerprinting scripts too.

In addition, browsers do not allow the kind of low-level access required to block everything Brave blocks.

From the recent Brendan Eich AMA: https://www.reddit.com/r/BATProject/comments/7l4033/transcri...

bat-brendaneich Admin 1:31 PM First question may be about the idea of a BAT extension for other browsers, but that is premature. The big problem with UGP grants and Gemini-phase ad revenue shares to users is fraud. Just user-funded contributions has a fraud problem too: as with buy widgets, stolen CC identity => $20 charge to buy BAT => contribution at scale via sybils/mturk-users/bots-with-enough-work => settlement to colluding but verified (small blog) publisher. That's why I mentioned sybil-resistance above. So we can't just make a wish and try monitoring Basic Attention Metrics from an extension, and attributing BAT flows and creating user wallets, from extensions. There can be other problems, which I've noted elsewhere: lack of extension APIs to do all we do for the BAT platform to work (block ads/trackers, HTTPS Everywhere, Fingerprinting Protection, BAM and the ledger), extensions run in JS sandboxes with API limits. So to put first things first, we will build in Brave while keeping our code as separable from chromium (or the mobile webview on iOS) as possible. After we have those endpoing and on-chain specs I mentioned in pretty good shape, we can assess extension feasibility on Mozilla, I can't speak for them. The friend who contacted after the BAT sale signaled interest but said it would take time, to which I said "same here" (per roadmap). I hope that answers the two reddit questions.

You're missing the whole cryptocurrency aspect. Most people probably associate Brave with BAT tokens, their ICO and that it's made by Brendan Eich.

Eich is a demonstrably smart man. I don't see how knowing him is anything but good.

I know next to nothing about browser plugin development, but my guess would be the logic around preventing bots and click fraud? Maybe this wasn’t achievable without forking the browser?

I’m curious because the plugin path sounds like a good idea.

I'm not a big fan of how they calculate load time. Usually you'll start interacting with the website before every single external resource loads (comments, Facebook integration, tracking scripts, etc.). Also, they should be comparing against Chrome/Safari with adblockers. Comparing the load times of one browser blocking the majority of the data downloaded vs one browser downloading everything will be very different regardless of what you're using.

The browser indeed is fast to load websites, but in my experience it is still a bit in the beta stage. Also I'm surprised how many websites these days just work on Chrome and nothing else! We're back to IE6 folks.

I really notice it on FF.

They compared a browser with ad blocking with one without it. Of course it's faster not to load ads.

I think it's a completely fair assessment of apples to apples comparison. Each browser in it's natural first installed state. How is that an unfair comparison?

Flagged. You can't just not load the asynchronous assets that don't affect how the page is displayed and then claim your browser is 8x as fast.

>You can't just

Why not? (Serious Question, I want to learn.)

The reason that the adblocking bit is significant is that it makes the benchmark comparisons pretty meaningless. Failing to load 40% of the content that was served will obviously cut the load times by a comparable amount.

For an accurate comparison, Brave's adblocker should be disabled so that it loads everything that Chrome did.

I disagree. Brave is targeted at the average browser user. Only ~10% of Windows users use adblockers, 2% on Android/iOS.

And you can't tell me all of these people want to see ads, most of them probably just don't know about adblockers (or find them to difficult to install on mobile).

Brave solves that problem because they present a finished solution that simply works for the user.

The comparison between Chromes and Braves (Electrons) internal details may be interested for developers but the average end-user just cares about the speed difference between Browser X and Y as they come out of the box.

I don’t think the submitter is affiliated with the browser.

Time.com takes 98 seconds to load in Chrome? Well that’s something.

Load time is measured by calculating the duration from the start time for the first network request, to the response time for the final request made for each domain.

I guess you'll see the page much sooner than 98 seconds, because seeing nothing for that long would probably mean the majority of visitors think the site is broken. There is still a ton of stuff loading in the background.

Noscript-enabled firefox ESR gives me "60 requests, 1,690.86 kB, 3.51s" beating Brave's 11.3s by a factor of 3.2 - admittedly the photos don't display :) Yeah, 1.6M for one lousy web page.

I love Brave, but my main beef is that when you download a torrent, who know where that file is actually stored on your file system....?

I wonder if there's an underlying reason for the Fox news benchmark being the fastest. If page load time is largely determined by quality/quantity of ads, is Fox News serving the "best" ads to make their website faster? Or is their average user using a computer with less network bandwith and computing power, thus forcing them to lower ad loading time to present a reasonable user experience.


That was his first suggestion ("is Fox serving the best ads"). As for the latter suggestion, it doesn't necessarily have to be an insult. Liberals tend to live in cities, and conservatives in rural areas. Rural areas have worse internet due to being spread out.

From my testing it was very interesting but the advertising part of it was odd, and also it crashed too often.

Personally after reading the page what I take is that the browser is irrelevant unless I'm in the USA

"Major news sites". Nobody goes to those anymore - they're too crowded.

That is one of my favorite Yogi Berra sayings.

My RSS feed loads even faster still.

What's the dev stack on this?

As I understand it is based on Firefox and have some neat features added: when opening a new tab it displays how much time you gained from not loading adds and tracking code + feature to provide payment to creators based on a monthly budget and how much time you spend on different sites. Its like Patreon with direct relation to your usage.

See "Enter Brave Payments" on https://brave.com/publishers/

Brave is based on Chromium, not Firefox.

Not this news site I bet...

This is completely credible if it has built in adblocking.

I have been using Brave more and more. I am growing to love it.

It’s basically impossible to get an idea of global usage however because it does such a good job of not letting servers know you’re using it. It just looks like Chrome.

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