There are several recurring questions we receive about the validity or privacy of UR, and we’d like to address them here today.
Why isn’t your code open source?
Listen, we know. There are lots of great pieces of software available online that have their whole repository available for everyone to consult. We’re not ready for this yet —we are still building a product and a business around it.
We first need to clarify with partners and investors to see how and when they would feel comfortable making our code public. Our goal is for UR’s code to be open source. For the time being, we are exploring all the possibilities of a license-based model. This gives us the time to research and develop what we believe to the be the right product.
Once we have this, we will return to this issue and post our code online. We cannot commit to a date at this time, but rest assured, it is high on our list of priorities.
Aren’t you just a Chromium fork with extensions?
Our source code is indeed from Chromium. However, we are more than a simple Chromium fork. UR has its own features and we have edited the code itself to remove certain settings and add more security and privacy features than those found in the base code.
Just a reminder: Google is the original creator of Chromium. Google has every interest in keeping tabs on its users, whether in Chrome, Chromium or any Chromium fork. Therefore, when migrating to new versions, a large part of our work involves taking out any and all calls back to Google.
A Chromium fork with extensions cannot, for example:
- Remove the parts of the code that report back to Google
- Protect you against browser fingerprinting
- Include the latest safety fixes while keeping compatibility with the latest web features
- Add features through extensions that aren’t allowed by the Chromium APIs in the first place
- Use split downloading by default to increase download speeds
- Protect you from extensions lacking from support after being bought by third-party companies (e.g. AdBlock)
- Using some of the safety features provided by Google without giving any data to Google.
- Prevent new anti-privacy features to be enabled through automatic updates
- Look so nice 🙂
What about your features?
Our features are all developed in-house and are therefore protected from the security issues that often arise with external extensions found in the Google Chrome Store. Third-party extensions are always a risk because they can be developed by people who want to infect your computer with viruses, adware and malware. See here and here for more information about this.
Some of the improvements and features we have developed:
- Centralized settings for privacy levels
- Better communication between the extensions and the Web content through additional features not provided by Chromium
- Anti-Fingerprinting protection
- Complete suppression of Google feedback, beyond what is found in the browser settings
- Private browsing tabs can sit next to normal tabs in the same window
- Keeping track of the privacy preferences across different websites and multiple sessions
- Additional settings targeted toward privacy with direct impact on the navigation
- Linkslider – quick access to your favorite sites from the address bar
- Custom buttons for features (Shield, Privacy Suite, Download Manager)
- Additional powers given to our components by tweaking Chromium’s APIs
- Automatic checking of unsecured sources before connecting to the website, and only then switching to the secure one, if it exists.
- Automatic securing of cookies sent by unsecure websites
Our goal is to create a secure browser with features we ourselves have put our hands on, so we can guarantee their authenticity and level of privacy and security.
Hope this answers some of your questions! As always, you can contact us on Facebook or Twitter.