The Yorkshire Post has a story about Freeserve founder Ajaz Ahmed’s latest venture browzar, “a new internet browser which allows users to surf the web without leaving a history of websites visited and protects against leaving personal details on computers.”
I did wonder why someone would create such a browser, considering the dangerous times we live in with paedophiles, criminals and terrorists; who would love nothing better than to hide their digital footprints, but Mr Ahmed gives some valid points as to why he felt the need to create his new browser.
He said: “browzar will do for surfing and searching the web with privacy what eBay did for auctions and My Space did for social networking. It is the first in a range of products that we’ll be rolling out this year”. I’m not sure I agree but he added, “We divulge masses of information about our habits, hobbies and financial dealings while online, often unknowingly, and there are times when all of us would rather this was kept private. Using browzar, anyone worldwide can surf the web privately in the knowledge that no-one will stumble across the sites they have visited when using the same computer.”
Maybe if the mainstream browsers did a better job of protecting our privacy and making it easier for the non-technical user to change their privacy settings, then products like browzar would probably not be used or needed. Personally I use both Firefox 2 and Internet Explorer 7. They both have similar privacy protection features within them that enable me to protect my privacy, clear my browsing tracks etc.
But as the average web user never changes their homepage from MSN or whatever preset it came with, it’s highly unlikely they will change their privacy options from the default settings which don’t clear out your digital footprint automatically at the end of each session.
Not everyone agrees with Mr Ahmed. Stuart Bruce, who alerted me to this story, has some strong views on this browser. “I bet the security folk love that as assorted terrorists and weirdos flock to browzar to try and cover their tracks.”
Again according to Mr Ahmed, “browzar does not interfere with information stored by internet service providers about sites visited which can be made available to authorities investigating suspected illegal activities.”
According to Peter Cole it’s not even a browser. “it is a simple wrapper on the IE web browser control in which they have (probably) turned off storage of files in the cache.”
So does it really do anything more than what a half tech-savvy user could do themselves? Isn’t it really just aimed at the non-technical user who might want to protect their bank details but don’t know how to do so. I probably will download this on to my dad’s computer, as it’s only 264k in size and tell him to use it instead of IE when checking his online banking details or buying a book from Amazon.
Of course there is a dark side to human nature and those bad people who use the web for evil means will possibly use this browser wrapper, but that doesn’t make the web a bad thing just or browzar isn’t a bad thing. In fact I am sure it will be very popular with 14 year old boys!
In terms of making money, browzar will generate revenues via ‘pay-per-click’. Browzar will be paid by the internet search engines every time a user clicks on a sponsored link.
Mr Ahmed said that “while payments are small, if browzar is being used worldwide then they would be significant.”
As one of the UK’s better known and most successful entrepreneurs who have to think he has got a cunning plan in mind.