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Freeserve founder launches privacy browser

By Matt Whipp

Posted on 1 Sep 2006 at 17:41

The founder of Freeserve, Ajaz Ahmed, has launched a browser focused on protecting privacy that he hopes will be as successful as eBay or MySpace have been in revolutionising their markets.

Browzar is a small 264KB download that uses components already installed on your computer to offer a full browsing experience while ensuring no data is kept on your browsing session.

Cookies - even session cookies - are deleted immediately. History, cache and bookmarks don't exist. And even search terms are left unrecorded.

'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,' said Ahmed, founder of Browzar. 'Using browzar, anyone can surf the Web privately in the knowledge that no-one will stumble across the sites they have visited when using the same computer.'

Browzar is currently available for Windows, from 98 onwards, and the developer team is working on versions for Mac and Linux platforms. The download doesn't install anything - it simply uses components and settings already installed on the computer - so it can be run off a USB stick for example. The Windows version picks up the IE HTML rendering included in Windows. If you're a Firefox user by default, Browzar will not respect this unless you make some tweaks to the Registry.

The interface itself is minimal to say the least. Alongside the standard forward, back, stop, refresh and print button there is a field for URLs and another for search terms. It also includes a pop-up blocker.

Browzar will have only one search partner for the search field, which will form the basis of its revenue model. A spokesperson wouldn't tell us exactly which engine had been selected as the deal wasn't finalised.

There is conflict of interest here in that search engines make money by getting as much data as possible about the searcher to deliver the most relevant results, while Browzar's aim is to stop user data being available in the first place. However, the spokesperson said that user privacy would not be compromised in order to help its search partner.

The spokesperson also said there were 'other business plans tied into this.' He wouldn't divulge further details but promised that it would not include anything to detract from the browsing experience, so users should not expect a barrage of pop-ups or anything similar.

Adoption of Browzar has been positive, claimed the spokesperson, with downloads 'well ahead' of targets.

You can add to the count by downloading it from browzar.com.

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