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Is JavaScript’s Creator Beating the Big Tech Industry?

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[Leer en español]

Every day, it becomes clear that economic competition in the market is an undeniable reality. No matter how many theories there may be against it. In the end the force of spontaneous order ends up being the one that, despite all obstacles, can determine certain directions.

The above applies to Information Technology. In this article, we will talk about a software-related scenario: web browsers, i.e. the applications we use to consult whatever we need on the network.

We are going to focus specifically on the Brave browser, which was developed by people such as Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript (one of the most used programming languages according to the TIOBE Ranking in January 2022) and co-founder of the Mozilla Foundation, the entity that supports the browser known as Mozilla Firefox.

A new emerging “alternative technology

By “alternative technology” we will refer to any technology linked to the so-called Alt Tech. These are developed and maintained by entrepreneurs and businessmen who challenge the ideological guidelines of Big Tech such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook.

These Alt Tech stand out for being more friendly to the individual’s right to privacy (secrecy of communications and other actions are intrinsic to the right to property), for a certain openness to blockchain (the blockchain paradigm) and for not participating in the censorship of counterrevolutionary voices, contrary to the Revolution and socialism.

We can say that the Brave web browser is one of many examples. Although it was launched six years ago, its popularity started to become notorious between 2020 and 2021, in the wake of events such as the alleged election irregularities in the United States and because of the WHO and Chinese Communist Party guidelines in dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

An open-source operating system with a commitment to privacy

To begin with, we are talking about an IT operating system that is totally alien to intellectual protectionism (those mechanisms of censorship and hindrance to free initiative that, in their most official and euphemistic sense, come to be known as “intellectual property” or “licensing and copyright system”)

Key features include non-trading and transfer of private data, ad blocking flexibility, ability to opt-out of search tracking, cryptocurrency wallet, a content creator reward token and default integration with the “pro-confidentiality” search engine DuckDuckGo (alternative to Google).

On the other hand, its code base comes from the open-source project Chromium, which was the cradle of Google Chrome, the web browser of the company from Mountain View (California) whose name is not necessary to mention. We have to remember that it has served as the basis for browsers such as Opera, operating from Norway.

Relevance and great reception by the audience, in figures

Nothing is static in these technological worlds. Just as what is state-of-the-art today may be relatively outdated tomorrow. Users may switch en masse to different options that are more satisfactory because of particularities or more general criteria of effectiveness, efficiency and performance.

We saw how Google Chrome managed to ostracize Internet Explorer, how MySpace collapsed in the United States, how today’s smartphones revolutionized the tablet market, how cryptocurrencies surpass the fraudulent fiat money in value.

Well, in this very month of January we have learned that, according to its managers, the project has exceeded fifty million active users (having already rewarded about 1.3 million web portals that have subscribed to the reward token initiative mentioned above).

In fact, on the Android mobile app store we know as Google Play, it has a rating of over four and a half points on a total scale of five (ratings). In fact, at the end of 2020, it was considered one of the highest rated browsers. 

It is true that it has not yet surpassed operating system such as Google Chrome, which already has some 2.65 billion users worldwide. But let’s keep in mind that the Mozilla Foundation co-founder’s operating systems are not part of any kind of mainstream or technological trend.

Therefore, it is interesting to focus on other features such as the speed of user growth and the number of users that have operating systems such as Android (along with iOS, it exerts a certain “internal leadership” in the smartphone industry). Analyses do not have to be monotonous, limited to a single variable though.

Thus, we can see how, to a certain extent, market freedom not only opens the way to innovation, but also serves to reprimand entities that are more focus on their own political perks than on general social interests (privacy and better service) to be solved spontaneously through the market.

Ángel Manuel García Carmona

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