I’ve been using Brave for two weeks now. To say that Brave has powerful ad-blocking and tracker-prevention gives a false impression : That Brave is for people who don’t like ads and worry about privacy.
Most people grumble about these issues, but speed is what really matters. A second-long delay while browsing the web is a huge mental disruption. It’s as if you’re reading a book, flip a page, and the lights go out for one second.
Yea, it’s just a second. But you were reading. Caught up in a stream of thought.
Ads and trackers slow your browser down. Because they are communicating in this elaborate two-way chatter between your machine and various back-end servers.
Brave shuts that down and removes those delays. Here are my stats from 2 weeks of Brave :
Brave shows you this whenever you open a new tab. They’re proud of it.
With good reason, apparently. 51,000 ads !? Yup. Almost a thousand trackers? Mmhmm.
But look at the 44 minutes. You might think 44 minutes over two weeks is nice, sure. Not some epic breakthrough in productivity but impressive enough - now I can watch an extra Black Mirror episode.
But you shouldn’t think of it as a single block of time. Rather, break it down into one-second delays. You’re reading a book, flip a page, and the lights go out for a second.
Brave prevented 2,800 of those micro-blackouts.
Now, the analogy is a bit of a stretch. After all, there is always some delay when you load a new page.
So to state it more accurately, we might say that Brave cut the duration of 5,000 of those black-outs in half.
No matter how you parse this out, it becomes clear this is a Big Fucking Deal.
During the last 2 weeks, I also opted in to Brave’s ad program. Meaning I volunteer to allow Brave to serve up little, tweet-sized ads. These ads don’t interfere with content, they appear above the browser - no graphics, just text.
Brave is clever about not pushing your patience with this. It seems to sense when you’re busy. When I’m typing away like I am now, Brave never serves up an ad. It also will take long stretches of time where it shows no ads at all - so much so I have had to check that my ads were still activated.
I opted in for ads because of the other reward Brave offers: a cryptocurrency called BAT (Basic Attention Token).
In two weeks I accrued about 5 bucks worth. (Most of it was a random direct gift from Brave, which they do occasionally. But some from ad-watching.) My BAT fortune sits in a wallet I can check any time.
I can just hold it. Given historical explosions in value for certain cryptocurrencies, no telling how valuable it might become.
But I’ll probably use it to tip content-creators. Small operators on YouTube who don’t have millions of subscribers, but who work hard to cover less popular subjects like astronomy. Or who got demonetized for political reasons. That sort of thing.
Brave has enrolled many thousands of content-creators thus far (including some major news outlets), but most small-time creators aren’t signed up yet. (For recent stats see Monitoring Brave Browser adoption )
So I’m going to hold these BAT and hand them out as my favorite channels enroll.
I must say, being empowered to directly support media that I love, using money I earned by not looking at embedded ads - merely tolerating unobtrusive, occasional ‘ad-tweets’ - feels pretty good.