Brave Technologies, the company behind the tokenized, privacy-focused Brave browser has announced the launch of SpeedReader, a new browser tool intended to make web pages easier to read by removing all non-essential scripts and content from pages before they load. In a post on its official website on November 15, the company revealed that SpeedReader, which is an upgrade on Brave’s existing Reader Mode, delivers significant performance gains, privacy benefits, and wide applicability.
Radical Facelift for Reader Mode
As the Internet has evolved from the early days of Hypertext Markup into today’s multimedia content-rich experience, the performance of browsers, and by extension user experience, has often suffered. So-called “page bloat” is commonplace noways, whereby pages are heavy and expensive to load, as well as laden with distracting advertisements and tracking scripts.
To get around this problem, many major browsers have created a reader mode that allows users to escape the worst effects of page bloat by offering them a stripped-down version of web pages free of videos, sponsored content links and other ubiquitous elements of modern internet existence.
Brave, however, is taking the reader mode concept a further step forward with SpeedReader. Unlike regular reader modes which do not attempt to save loading times and data, but merely serve the user a stripped down web page after loading all elements as normal, SpeedReader goes beyond the aesthetics to load only the essential content on a web page which eliminates tracking script, ads, and sponsored content.
Although Brave, which recently hit ten millions downloads, already blocks ads and trackers, SpeedReader automatically detects which pages are suitable and then loads them to create significant value for users with slow internet connections or limited data packages. According to information released by Brave, SpeedReader’s performance gains include page loading speedups ranging from 20 to 27 faster speeds, bandwidth savings of up to 84 times, and memory reduction of 2.4 times.
In addition to performance enhancements, SpeedReader also delivers notable privacy improvements such as a total removal of all requests related to ads and tracking. Interestingly, its usefulness extends to about 22 percent of all web pages, a figure that goes up to 31 percent on Twitter and 42 percent on Reddit. SpeedReader’s testing indicated that there were as much as 115 fewer requests to third parties and 64 fewer interactions with trackers on pages where it could be applied.
According to Brave, SpeedReader achieves these ends by applying the tree transduction step prior to document rendering, which forecloses the possibility of any third party requests being initiated. In other words, unlike reader modes which attempt to close the stable door after the horse has already bolted, SpeedReader nips the tracking and ad problem in the bud from the start.
In so doing, SpeedReader succeeds in three major ways. Namely, a reduction in third-party communication, a drastic decrease in the number of fingerprinting scripts executed, and a total eradication of tracking and ad-related requests on web pages visited by users.