Once upon a time, back in the late 1990s, Ajaz Ahmed was the founder of an ISP that literally changed the shape of the UK Internet. The reason as to why is hinted at in the name: Freeserve. Ahmed had the vision to understand that free access to the Internet could not only be a success, but a hugely profitable one. Freeserve has long since been history, originally acquired by French ISP Wanadoo for $3 billion (making Ahmed a very rich man in the process) and more recently rebranded as part of the Orange empire. But Ahmed has not lost the urge to create culture changing free business concepts, and his latest venture was officially launched this week: Browzar.
So what is it all about, other than a particularly awful pun? Well how does clicktrail free web browsing grab you. Yes, I know, hardly a new concept really. After all, there are myriad ways of achieving this to one degree or another. However, most of them will cost you money of course, and that is something that Ahmed seems passionately against. So Browzar is free, and small for that matter with a miniscule 264k footprint. Did I say footprint? Sorry, that is a word that is not in the Browzar lexicon, banned along with others such as installation (it requires none) and registration (ditto.) Browzar also does away with cache, history, cookies and auto-complete forms, auto-deleting them all once you are done. What it is not, of course, is an anonymous browser. It does not hide who you are or where you are connecting from, just clears up all the clicktrails and information from the PC you are accessing the web with.
Cool yes, but groundbreaking, well maybe not. If you are already security and privacy savvy, you’ll be clearing up your mess behind you anyway, be that with a Firefox extension, a browser such as NetCaptor which wraps a privacy friendly interface around the IE core engine, or one the numerous third party clean up tools available. If you are a newbie who isn’t privacy and security savvy, then I’m not sure how or why Browzar is going to enter your radar in the first place.
I have to say that I think Ahmed is being more than a little optimistic when he claims “Browzar will do for surfing and searching the web with privacy what eBay did for auctions and My Space did for social networking.” Nevertheless, in fairness, it is only the first in a range of privacy and security products that he will be launching this year, so who knows.
Browzar, which can be run directly from the web or downloaded in flavors for Windows, OSX and Linux, is available now.