New Browser Claims to Democratize the Internet

Search, and you shall find

Key Takeaways

  • The new Qikfox browser is intended to help users publish their content more easily. 
  • The browser costs $180 per year and is currently by invitation only. 
  • The browser also comes with its own search engine and built-in antivirus protection.
A child touching a virtual lock icon.

fotosipsak / Getty Images

It's not always easy making yourself heard on the internet, but the makers of a new browser claim it could make content publishing available to more users than ever before. 

Qikfox recently launched a browser that's meant to make content more easily discoverable. The browser costs $180 per year and is currently available on an invite-only basis in North America, but observers say it's got significant potential. 

"This browser can eliminate the need for domain names. Users can search for content without having to type domain names, thus eliminating the need to buy domain names," Harish Srigiriraju, a product manager for Verizon cloud services, told Lifewire in an email interview.

"It can promote content from all publishers by eliminating ads and creating a level playing field by promoting publishers that add value through the content."

Eliminating the Middleman

Qikfox is positioning itself as a do-it-all solution. The browser has its own search engine, built-in antivirus protection, and the "world's first" browser-based decentralized identity system.

"Consumers should be able to share content without mediators," Qikfox writes on its website.

Qikfox's creators claim that it uses techniques that eliminate the need for domain name systems to make publishing websites easier. 

Not having to use domain name systems could help users, Harish said. If content creators can publish content on TikTok or Facebook for free, he contended that they shouldn't also be paying to maintain a website. 

"With a more democratized publishing, we will see a lot more content creators and small businesses across the world publishing their content," Harish said.

"Every one of us will benefit from the additional content and business opportunities created. Furthermore, democratization will create a level playing field where individuals and corporations with deep pockets no longer have control over the best domain names and better websites."

Finding Content

Finding quality content is a problem for web users, tech expert Popa Ionut-Alexandru told Lifewire in an email interview. 

"Putting the power into browsers is not really a solution as you'll replace Google with something else (not to forget Google also owns Chrome)," he added. "We need something decentralized, something like a Tor network for content indexing, discovery, and suggestions. Maybe some sort of self-run Facebook that doesn't solely rely on what people like."

The Brave browser is another browser that's breaking the mold, Ionut-Alexandru pointed out. Braves lets users reward publishers with BAT, a cryptocurrency that visitors earn by looking at ads. 

Someone using a touchscreen computer to order food.

South_agency / Getty Images

"It's not a perfect system, of course, but it puts a bit of power into the hands of visitors, who can decide what publisher to support," he added. "My guess is that more systems like this will appear, services that will connect the wallet of the visitor directly to their preferred publishers. Well, not really directly, but without involving big tech."

The Qikfox browser is also meant to keep users safe from online scams. The company says the software has a secure browsing feature that lets you navigate to fishy websites. It's got antivirus software built-in and guides users away from scam websites. 

Online fraud is a growing problem. The Federal Trade Commission received 2.2 million fraud complaints in 2020, with customers losing $3.3 billion to fraud. A large portion of this fraud occurs through identity theft and phishing scams on the internet. 

Browsers like Qikfox identify and block phishing scams by alerting users to websites that are at high risk. The software then prompts the user not to enter confidential data on the websites, use password managers to enter passwords safely, alert users on any credit card charges or withdrawals, and monitor the dark web for identity theft, Srigiriraju said. 

"Browsers can do so much to prevent you from giving away your bank credentials to the wrong person," Popa said. "I think educating people about online risks and how to identify them is the biggest challenge today."

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