Brave browser goes 'full-Chromium' by adopting Google UI

The release of Brave 0.57 earlier this month culminates a UI swap that began in March.

brave browser
Brave

Brave Software earlier this month completed a months-long alignment of its Brave browser with Google's Chromium open-source project, ending a stretch when Brave crafted its own user interface (UI) even as it ran Google's rendering engine.

"Starting today, Brave users who are currently browsing with our Muon-based desktop version (0.25.2) will receive a notification to upgrade to our redesigned Chromium-based release (version 0.57)," stated a Dec. 7 unsigned post to the company's blog.

Although Brave adopted Chromium - the open-source effort that generates code for Google's Chrome - at its inception, including both the Blink rendering engine and the V8 JavaScript engine, Brave started with "Muon," an HTML-JavaScript front-end its developers had built. Muon, in turn, was a fork from "Electron," a framework for creating cross-platform GUI (graphical user interface) applications. Electron, a creation of GitHub - which was acquired by Microsoft earlier this year for $7.5 billion - was chosen by Brave for its security prowess.

As of last week, however, Brave relies on the Chromium UI. In plainer words, Brave has gone "full-Chromium."

This month's release of Brave 0.57 - the numeric designation signals the browser remains far from finished - was the culmination of a switcheroo begun in March. At the time, Brave Software explained its reasoning for the change to full-Chromium.

"This will free up our development effort to focus fully on Brave-specific features - the things like Brave Shields and BAT (Basic Attention Tokens), which set us aside from the other browsers," Brave said in a March 28 post. Additionally, Brave asserted that going full-Chromium would give its developers "much more support for Chrome's features and APIs."

Importantly to users, the full-Chromium Brave has access to the add-ons hosted by Google's Chrome Web Store. Those add-ons can be installed from within Brave, although some - those Brave hasn't itself vetted - will display a warning prior to installation.

Brave also claimed a major speed boost by dropping Muon, saying that its average page load time would be 22% faster.

The move to version 0.57 also came with a name change of Brave's most distinctive feature: What had been called "Brave Payments" were retitled "Brave Rewards."

Brave's business model relies on its aggressive anti-advertisement attitude. The browser was built to strip online ads from websites, but Brave goes far beyond mere ad blocking and scrubbing pages of ad trackers. It intends to replace the deleted ads with advertisements from its own network. It's as if a new TV network announced it would use technology to remove ads from other networks' programs, then rebroadcast those programs with ads of its own devising, ads that it sold.

Underlying the Brave economy are "Basic Attention Tokens" or BATs, which have a value derived from a cyber-currency. Those tokens will be awarded based on time spent viewing ads and content. Brave users who agree to receive ads will be rewarded with BATs; the tokens can be passed to publishers as support for their sites. Alternately, Brave envisions users trading their tokens for premium content or advanced site features.

Brave Rewards is the term for that process of receiving and giving BATs. New features for the rewards program, said Brave, included "direct tipping functionality with monthly recurring tips."

The "payment" nomenclature has been replaced by "tipping," which has a different connotation.

Even though Brave went full-Chromium, the browser purposefully has remained at odds with Google. In the announcement that version 0.57 was being pushed to current users, Brave reminded them that the browser had been purged of all Chrome-specific telemetry code and that Google Accounts and account synchronization had been disabled.

Brave can be downloaded for Windows, macOS and Linux from the firm's website.

brave browser goes chromium Brave

Brave can now access Chrome's add-ons directly from the Chrome Web Store. Some extensions, like this from Evernote, come with a warning, however.

This story, "Brave browser goes 'full-Chromium' by adopting Google UI" was originally published by Computerworld.

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