Martin McKeay

Browse without the footprints

By Martin McKeay
August 31, 2006 11:45 AM EDT
I found a new browser this morning that let's you surf the net without leaving any footprints on the computer you're using.  Called Browzar , the browser automatically deletes any cookies and history files plus it's small enough that it will fit on any USB key.  At 264k, it downloads quickly and requires no installation, just click and go.

Now I'm a bit of a privacy freak, but this browser shouts out to me as a tool to be used by people who are doing things they shouldn't, and this seems to be at least part of the way the developers of Browzar are advertising it.  On the other hand, it's a very lightweight browser that can be used from almost any platform quickly and easily and won't carry much of the baggage a heavier browser like Internet Explorer or even Firefox does.  If you're a frequent road warrior who sometimes uses kiosk workstations, then this is definitely a browser you need to look at.

I've only tested a little of Browzar's capabilities, but so far it seems to be able to render all the pages I've surfed to.  It deals well with Flash, though it seems to lack a pop-up blocker, since I've received several pop-ups, something I've almost forgotten about using Firefox.  I'm actually curious about this behavior, since the pop ups seem to come in IE windows, not Browzar.  It also has no right-click capabilities, which I use extensively to open links in new tabs and or windows.

Browzar is worth checking out if you're worried about your privacy and your browsing history.  The folks at Browzar make it clear that their browser keeps your computer clean of your browsing history, but does not make your browsing anonymous.  The police or your IT department can still discover where you've been by looking at your upstream traffic.  I like the idea and I'll keep an eye on Browzar in the future, but for now, I'd rather manually clean my history and cookies manually from time to time.  And avoid sites I would really rather other people not know I've been to.

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