Privacy-focused browser app Brave has released a new “Forgetful Browsing” feature, which helps to combat unwanted first-party re-identification, an intrusive tracking practice deployed by many websites.
Other than a reliable VPN, using a browser like DuckDuckGo or Brave when you're on the internet is one of the easiest ways to significantly improve your online privacy.
For a browser like Brave, it's a particularly tough time to be competing with Google and Bing. But if it continues to bring out unique privacy features — as well as useful AI tools like “Summarizer” — it'll be well placed to keep pace.
Brave: Staying One Step Ahead
In a recent blog post explaining the new feature, Brave remarks on the fact that bigger browsers — which once allowed all sorts of third-party tracking — have started to make efforts to limit it.
Chrome, for instance, is set to phase out third-party cookies in 2024, recent reports suggest.
Brave says, however, that this general trend led to more sites relying on “first-party storage” to store information on users and re-identify them, which is what forgetful browsing fights back against.
With Forgetful Browsing activated, Brave will immediately clear all cookies stored in a site immediately after the site is closed down.
Not only will it enhance your privacy, but it’ll also improve your overall browsing experience by making it impossible to enforce rate limits, such as the number of times you can use a chatbot or read articles, as it won’t be able to recognize you’ve already visited the site.
Can You Really Trust Brave?
Emphatically, yes. In a world where the average browsing experiences are still extremely intrusive, on the whole, Brave’s commitment to privacy is all the more impressive.
Brave, as it states in its FAQs, “does not have access to identifiable user data” and all of its software is open source. Browsing history is not stored by default.
Summarizer: Brave’s AI-Powered Answer to Bing Chat
It’ll be interesting to see how smaller browsers like Brave fare in this new era of information sourcing. Bigger browsers, like Chrome and Bing, are expending seemingly endless resources developing and improving AI tools and integrating them into their interface.
In March, Brave launched a tool called “Summarizer,” which effectively uses artificial intelligence to provide a short, succinct, and straightforward answer based on a collection of top web results, or a single, well-rated source.
It’s a little bit more basic than the likes of Bard and ChatGPT, but AI chatbots aren’t necessarily for everyone, especially ones that don’t cite their sources, as Brave’s Summarizer does every time it serves you an answer.
How to Enhance Your Privacy Online
In 2023, there are a lot of things to consider when you head onto the internet — not least how private your browsing experience is.
Brave is a great option if you’re looking for a privacy-focused browser that won’t deploy the same sort of invasive tracking or data-sharing procedures that Google will.
However, DuckDuckGo is another option worth considering, and in terms of blocking third-party trackers, performs a similar job effectively.
As we mentioned at the start of this article, pairing one of these browsers with a secure VPN service such as Surfshark — which will encrypt all of your data, mask your IP address, and only costs a couple of dollars per month — is a good place to start.
If you live under an authoritarian regime and need more assurances when it comes to online privacy, you may want to consider using the Tor (“The Onion Router)” network, which is pretty much as close are you’re going to get to anonymity online.
NordVPN is one of the only major VPN providers to offer an Onion-Over-VPN feature that makes connecting to the TOR network even more secure — and Brave also has a built-in Tor integration. This will be a little excessive if you don't live under draconian censorship laws, but it's good to make sure you're clued up on all the options, wherever in the world you live.