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There’s a decent chance you’re reading this post on one of three web browsers: if you’re an Apple user, you’re probably on Safari; if you’re on your Windows PC, you might be using Edge; but, most likely, you’re on Chrome.
If that’s true, I think you should switch to something else. Here’s a few reasons why:
1. Monopolistic Practices Make the World and the Internet a Worse Place
You might like the game Monopoly, but it’s worth noting that monopolies in the real world aren’t great.
As Seth Godin puts it “[A] monopoly is a critical failure of capitalism. When monopoly occurs, when the customer no longer has a choice, prices go up, innovation goes down and mostly, consumers have no voice.”
Web browers right now are effectively a monopoly (well, technically an oligopoly, but the same issues apply). Chrome, Safari, and Edge make up about 90% of the browser market share. When basically everyone is using the same three browers, it easily results in lost freedom to use your device the way you want. One company makes a change to their software, and because so many people are locked into using it, hundreds of millions of people lose access to important plugins they use every day.
Software monopolies are bad for technology and for the internet.
2. Tracking is Sketchy
Chrome owned by a $1.5 trillion company that makes the vast majority of its money by collecting as much information about you as possible and monetizing that information through advertisements.
Edge’s owner, Microsoft, is increasingly the same way, constantly looking for more ways to take the information they’ve gleaned from spying on you, to get more targeted ads in front of your face.
Apple and Safari should have gotten a pass on this one, except that just these last few months Apple has started getting into the ad game, too! Likely meaning they also will be harnessing information about what you’re doing on their devices and software, and using it to show you ads, too.
Tracking like that is creepy. If there’s an easy way to ameliorate that, I think it’s worth trying.
3. Non-User-Respecting Software is Lame
All three of those browsers are closed source, meaning that if you want to make a change to the way the apps works, you’re actually simply not allowed to. You’re required to use these apps the specific way that Google, Apple, or Microsoft have programmed them to work. Even though you’ve paid a lot of money for your device, when you use their software, you’re required to use that software the way they want. It’s like you don’t own your device at all.
It seems almost maybe reasonable, because it’s what we’ve gotten used to…
But, there is another way.
What do I Recommend Instead?
In short, I recommend Brave.
That might change in the future, but at the moment Brave is the main web browser that I can recommend as a generally great option for everyone of all technical skill-levels, on any device.
It solves all the complaints I mentioned above:
- It’s not developed by a tech giant, so no monopolistic shenanigans
- It blocks ads and trackers by default protecting you from the sketchy spying so common by internet companies today.
- And it’s Free/Libre Open Source Software, meaning you can have complete control over it. (If you want to go in and change the internal code to make it do something novel, or if you want to make sure that the software is not doing anything malicious or unethical on your device, you’re allowed to do that. And many people do. The fact you’re not allowed to do that with Chrome, Safari, or Edge should probably be a little worrisome😅)
Brave also just seems to all around work better than any other browser I’ve used. The fact that it blocks trackers, ads, and other garbage by default, means that your devices doesn’t actually load the code for all that. The result is a significantly faster experience than with other browsers. If you use it on your phone, it also means you use less cellular data, because those ads and trackers simply don’t load.
I like Brave. If you haven’t used it, it’s worth trying it out. It takes only a few clicks and a couple minutes to download and install.