Brave defies Google’s moves to kill ad-blocking

Liam Tung for ZDNet:

Brave, the Chromium-based browser developed by Firefox co-founder and JavaScript creator Brendan Eich, thinks there’s a better way of handling ad-blockers than Google’s approach.

Brave’s answer, which it argues massively improves browser performance, is found in Rust, the Mozilla-hatched programming language that was in part created by Eich.

As ZDNet reported in June, developers of Chromium-based browsers like Opera, Brave and Vivaldi, didn’t support Google’s plans to cripple ad-blockers outlined under its Manifest version 3 proposal.

Brave now claims to have delivered a “69x average improvement” in its ad-blocking tech using Rust in place of C++. The improvements can be experienced in its experimental developer and nightly channel releases.

Eich told ZDNet earlier this month that Brave intended to support webRequest for all extensions in Brave, against Google’s Chromium plans to heavily restrict it while offering a knee-capped replacement.

Dr. Andrius Aucinas and Dr. Ben Livshits for Brave:

We therefore rebuilt our ad-blocker taking inspiration from uBlock Origin and Ghostery’s ad-blocker approach. This focuses on a tokenization approach specific to ad-block rule matching against URLs and rule evaluation optimised to the different kinds of rules. We implemented the new engine in Rust as a memory-safe, performant language compilable down to native code and suitable to run within the native browser core as well as being packaged in a standalone Node.js module. Overall, we found that:

• The new algorithm with optimised set of rules is 69x faster on average than the current engine.

• For the popular filter list combination of EasyList and EasyPrivacy it achieves class-leading performance of spending only 5.7μs on average per request.

• An additional benefit of having the blocker built into the core of the browser is even less work duplicating what the browser already does, e.g. for URL parsing. With this information already available, our browser-focused API provides still better performance, cutting average request processing time down to 4.6μs.

• The new engine already supports more of the filter rule syntax that has evolved beyond the original specification, which will allow us to handle web compatibility issues better and faster.

For performance measurements in this study we used a 2018 MacBook Pro laptop with 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 CPU and 32GB RAM.

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  1. MDN, please consider offering a Patreon option or a version without ads for a reasonable subscription price. I hate all ads (though I don’t mind Amazon affiliate links), mainly because of the tracking that goes with them.

    I don’t want to see you operating at a loss, please offer a subscription or pattreon or some other way for people to support your site.


  2. I appreciate your new website. I also appreciate your desire to not loose money. I’ve follow your website daily; have for years. I trust you. However, I don’t trust FaceBook, Google, and some of the other companies that are exploiting online traffic for their profit off my data. It’s not simply the ads, but the trackers and such, that run in the background. Until I’m confident that a website is doing whatever they possible can to help protect me I will run every sort of blocker I can. I must take responsibility for my privacy. I will support companies and business models that work to help me be not merely inconvenienced but put sane measure in to protect my data. I think using a site like yours should be a win-win situation for you and the user. I would love to read MDN response to this post because over the years I have come to respect your take on many things. Thanks for what you do.

    1. Due to Google’s monopoly on search and non-Facebook online advertising, nearly every single ad network taps into Google ad networks. We are hopeful that someday, someway, competition can be restored in the online advertising market before it’s too late for too many good sites (we’ve already lost MacNN and too many others).

      Thank you for visiting MacDailyNews!

  3. I am elated to hear that an ad-free option will be available. I’m hoping it will be about $4.99 per month. I’m ready to sign up now!

  4. I hardly notice the ads anymore. This new site is so much better. Ads are in their place, and not covering up the content, so far not hijacking my browser, not eating up all of my memory, not causing the Mac to complain about the page wasting resources.

    Much much better really.

    1. Thank you for patronizing our sponsors whose ads interest you!

      If you use Amazon, that ad under each article will usually return a small commission to us on whatever you purchase after clicking it (at no additional cost to you). That really helps.

  5. I’ve been saying create a subscription service for years. $50 per year or $5 per month with no ads and additional original content. Free without the additional in depth analysis content, and you get ads. And/or do one special ad per day, that the advertiser pays for.

  6. Ads haven’t been a problem for a while, would be great if comments were limited to subscribers or at least anonymous trolls and essay writers were nuked for repeat offenses. No more than 1 comment per post and 300 characters max for freeloaders.

  7. Your site is great. Won’t mind to pay the price of a cup of latte to make it survive. But please do us a favor, Safari Reader Mode is on and off on your site when set to Auto Reader Mode. Not sure if that’s the site or Safari problem. Just a little feedback to make reading more pleasant to the eye.

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