What’s a Branded Browser?
To make a branded browser, a company takes an already existing browser (Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Chromium or Chrome) and makes some insignificant modifications to it. A logo can be changed by them, rename a few menu options or add third-party extensions, search boxes or advertising spots.
An example of a branded browser is the Russian government’s"Sputnik-Browser,"built upon Firefox and dependent on the government-owned"Sputnik" search engine.
The browser provides features like blocking"unnecessary content," protecting children with"parent management," cutting out"the most bothersome and awful ads," and so on. Additionally, you can get the official online pages of government, access local government services’ phone numbers and maps.
The Sputnik Browser has a feature for parents called"online scoring." It works through"dnevnik.ru" (dnevnik means journal in Russian), an internet school ratings agency and bitcoincasinoreview.info. Parents can watch how their kids are doing in the school right in workplace or their home by means of this extensionOshi Casino casino browser is for iOS, Android and Windows and won’t work on Linux-based OS. Ultimately, developers promise Synchronization Feature and combined login system.
Porn, Tits and Schoolgirls
“It’s very important for us when typing’schoolgirl’ in the search box to discover girls in accurate dresses and white aprons, but not something different," says Rostelecom Vice President Alexey Basov when asked about the government-curated Sputnik search engine.
Users seemed to test how well the search engine filtered out this pornographic content. Statistics show that main words searched on Sputnik during May 29, 2015 may was"Tits" and"Porn." On the exact same day, Yandex statistics showed"odnoklassniki" and ???vk.com" (popular Russian social networks) phrases as a primary search requests. This means most of users used the Sputnik search engine to search for things that it blocks, which attracts its purpose of censorship into question.
By six times its user count fell since Sputnik’s launch May 22, 2015fortune scam On May 22, it was at about 141.8 thousand users, but by May 27, just 23.6 million searches went through the browser.
Yandex Branded Browser
The Yandex e-mail service is scary to use due to context advertising right in the mailbox and a standard"we will disclose your info to the authorities" license agreement.
Yandex is a Russian version of Google, with surveillance. The feature is enabled in the browser through a so-called"smart speech line," which sends any entered text to Yandex servers for"analyzing."
Yandex is a closed source project, based on a few other open source projects and Chromium open source code. It’s a list of good tools for relaxation browsing, and it could be a tool for work, if you believe you don’t need privacy. For instance, foreign journalists may use this search engine as a compass for Russian"soda" segments of the net.
There are plenty of similar products created by webmasters from all over Russia, both for private and government companies, to spy on users and make some profit. When you do not let anyone — just avoid using them and see their products know what do you do on the Web. Government applications is the most dangerous because it records everything.
Business applications makes no difference, because it has no strong encryption and all the personal user information could be intercepted directly by anybody (including the hackers) or by request.
What do you think of Russian branded browsers? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of AppleApple, Yandex.