Brave browser gets Chrome’s extensions starting Thursday with major new version

Brave Core’s developer version icon


If you like Brave but also like extensions to fine-tune your web surfing, good news: a new version of the ad-blocking browser arrives Thursday that will make it as customizable as Google’s rival Chrome.

Today’s Brave uses an interface called Muon, but a new developer-oriented version of Brave due for release Thursday is built more directly on the open-source Chromium foundation of Chrome. The change means that Chrome’s extensive library of extensions will work on Brave, including Reddit Enhancement Suite, BetterTTV, Pinterest, Vimium, Grammarly and Evernote.

Brendan Eich, Brave’s chief executive and formerly leader of Firefox developer Mozilla, on Wednesday confirmed Thursday’s release of the new version, called Brave Core.

Brave is trying to shake up the browser market with a system that began by blocking all ads and ad trackers by default. And it’s begun a newer phase that offers an option in which the browser itself can pick ads for Brave users. That approach is designed to protect privacy and means some of the ad revenue will go to Brave and people using the browser.

The Brave payment system, called the Basic Attention Token, accumulates in crypto-token form within Brave from grants the startup issues its users, and eventually from the ads Brave users see. As set today, those BAT are shared with website publishers, YouTubers, Twitch videogame streamers, and later, Redditors and Twitter users.

A busy week for browsers

The new version of Brave will make this week an even busier one for browser makers than it’s already been.

That’s mostly because Google gave Chrome an interface overhaul Tuesday in conjunction with Chrome’s 10th anniversary. Chrome dominates the market, accounting for about 60 percent of website usage, according to StatCounter.

Brave Core inherits Chrome's new look, with curvy tabs and other interface elements.

Brave Core inherits Chrome’s new look, with curvy tabs and other interface elements.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/Techhnews

Brave Core will inherit Chrome’s new look, though modified in some ways — for example with the Brave menu, placed on the right side of the address box, where you can fiddle with ad blocking and other settings.

Four million people use Brave each month on personal computers and mobile devices, Eich tweeted Sunday. That’s a tiny fraction of Chrome, which has more than 1 billion active users and 2 billion installations.

One of Chrome’s innovations was a regular six-month release cadence that automatically updates the browser with new features and security fixes. Brave has issued its versions more sporadically, but that’ll change with Brave Core’s three-week cadence, according to an ask-me-anything forum with Brave Chief Technology Officer Brian Bondy.

That cadence means Brave Core will arrive in beta form in late September and in major release form most of the way through October, Bondy said. But be careful before with it, since that’ll still technically be version 0.55. “Shortly after this, we’ll get to our 1.0 release,” Bondy said. “With Brave Core you’ll go from feeling like you should use Brave, but you still want to use Chrome, to wanting to use Brave no matter what.”

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