Browsers & Search Engines | My Thoughts

So, I’m not one to boycott companies I disagree with, but it’s getting hard to use services where I’m more product than customer. And even more difficult when those companies put their opinions, political agenda, and iniquity in front of my face. Browsers and Search Engines these days are more about maximizing revenue than providing me a service. These are tools and should behave like tools.

I have a cordless drill. The drill is designed to put holes in things. It doesn’t ask me to rate it; it doesn’t track how many holes I’ve drilled, it doesn’t suggest I buy other kinds of power tools, it doesn’t remind me to use it when I don’t want to drill a hole, it doesn’t tell me what political opinions it has. It just does what it’s supposed to do and does it well.

And that’s all I want out of a Browser and Search engine.

Search Engines

Now, Google is the best search engine out there. Bar-none. I’ve tried Bing (which has issues with Censorship), DuckDuckGo (which is just Bing), but the results aren’t near the quality of Google Search. But there are two privacy-focused alternatives that do a good job.

Startpage

Startpage – This search engine is actually just paying Google for the results, so it’s Google, but it doesn’t track you or push an agenda. I currently use this and have been using it as my primary search engine for a while.

Brave Search – This is the new kid on the block, a search engine that doesn’t track you; I’ve tested a few queries, and Brave did a decent job. I may move over to this in the future.

Browsers

There is no disputing that Chrome is king when it comes to browsers. However, there are some decent alternatives. Firefox has been around a while; however, there are always a few sites I can’t get working in Firefox, and it’s a tad sluggish on Android, so I much prefer the Chromium-based browsers. Of which, there are two new browsers created by browser veterans. Brave and Vivaldi.

Brave

Brave Rewards is built on the Basic Attention Token (BAT), a new way to value attention, connecting users, content creators, and advertisers. —Brave Rewards page

Brave – A privacy-focused Browser, founded by Brendan Eich. He’s well experienced in browsers started at Netscape, co-founded the Mozilla Foundation, and created JavaScript. Brave is similar to Chrome but provides better privacy and zero-knowledge sync.

I also like Brave because they’ve developed a way to reward creators using a cryptocurrency called BAT (Basic Attention Token). Brave will automatically contribute it to publishers and creators of websites you visit. In fact, I receive BAT rewards from people who visit this website using Brave.

As an aside, BAT is a brilliant and innovative idea. A model like this with enough users will encourage creators to make useful content instead of focusing on content that generates advertising revenue and referral partnerships.

Vivaldi

Vivaldi does not have any politics or any political position. — Vivaldi Forum Moderator

Vivaldi – There was a time when every browser was bloated and slow, then came the Opera Browser. It was so small it fit in a floppy, and it was fast. It was so good; I bought it. Now, Opera co-founder Jon Stephenson von Tetzhner has created a new browser: Vivaldi. It is not entirely open-source, if that concerns you. Vivaldi’s strength is it is highly configurable and customizable. It has features like an email client, RSS feed reader, etc. If you’re looking for a feature the chances are Vivaldi has it. Just stuff that should be in a browser. I like the tab stacking (no other browser can organize a vast number of tabs as well), and it also has an option to outright block the EU-mandated cookie warning popups that made the UK so mad they decided to leave the union. When I use Vivaldi, I feel like it’s working for me.

I currently use Brave and occasionally Vivaldi when I need better tab management (which is beneficial for heavy research). For the search engine, I use Startpage but am interested in Brave Search, so I will be experimenting with it.

Use a search engine and browser that serve you.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16


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