Yes, technology moves rapidly these days but at a basic level are we not doing what we did back in the early days of the interwebs? Personal computers sit on a desk or a lap, just like they did when Mosaic crawled across screens on 14k-baud modem 20 years ago. They say we live in The Golden Age of Browsers, but I want to know why we still use the archaic apps?
Search? Or, Stalked?
Google’s Chrome is the most used browser on planet earth. Google is the world’s most prolific tracker of humanity. What does Google use? Chrome. Other apps, too, but Chrome is where the money is.
Why haven’t internet users figured out how much tracking Google and Facebook do these days? Because there’s no visible pain involved in using Chrome, Facebook in Chrome, or Facebook and Chrome on iPhone, iPad, or Android smartphone. In an age where 2-million apps are available to download with little more than a click or two, browsers still rule.
Browsers are the Corvair of the 21st century. Why hasn’t Ralph Nader turned over in his grave over what today’s browsers hath wrought. Oh. Wait. My bad. He’s not dead. Yet. Maybe he doesn’t use a browser.
On iPhone and iPad, almost every application has an option to view a website or something within Safari’s embedded application; the browser within the application, so to speak.
I have come to loathe using any browser, especially Google, then Safari, and once in the past Firefox (but they’ve cleaned up their act at Mozilla, and Firefox is almost there as a good interwebs netizen; thanks to more privacy options).
Browsers track you online. All of them? 99-percent of them. Yes, I’m guessing at the number, but that percentage probably includes Chrome on every platform, Safari on macOS and iOS, and whatever Microsoft is pushing onto their customers and users these days. Firefox makes up the rest, along with a tiny sliver of browser users I want to donate money to– just to make sure they stay in business.
Browsers are still around because 1) we let them stay, 2) we use them and don’t think about possible substitutes, 3) most users don’t know of the dangers of browser
tracking stalking, and 4) browsers are free to use (but come with the horrible cost of less privacy and security).
I have a new favorite browser; one I’m training to take the place of Safari. It’s called Brave. I like it because, well, it’s brave to create a browser named Brave that must compete against free browsers like Safari and Chrome which dominate among Mac, iPhone, and iPad users. Brave is minimalist and I’m growing to like that trend in applications.
Brave blocks website advertising. Brave blocks advertising trackers. Brave blocks scripts and trackers (of which Google Analytics is among the largest and most used). Brave blocks cookies. Try Brave on iMore or Macworld to see how much faster a website loads without ads and trackers.
On the Mac, Brave has tabs and bookmarks that sync and plays nice-nice with 1Password and a few other password managers. Oh, and you get a few controls for how much and what gets blocked. The iOS versions doesn’t have bookmark sync yet. More and more I fear for those of us who browse the interwebs the old fashioned way– in a browser. I appreciate the efforts of those, like Brave, Mozilla with Firefox Focus, Trend Micro’s Zero Browser and others who put privacy and security over profits. It’s not much of a business plan, but if you have to use a browser, start with those that want to help save humanity’s remaining time on the planet.
What about Apple and Safari?
Uh, the default search engine in Safari is Google. Why? Uh, doesn’t Google pay Apple a few billion dollars for the privilege? Is that not the definition of cohorts in crime?