Brave browser adds private video conferencing with $ 7 premium option

Illustration by Stephen Shankland / CNET

Broaden its push for paid services, Brave browser maker Wednesday launched a video conferencing service called Brave Talk designed to protect privacy better than existing options like Zoom. It’s free, but a premium option costing $ 7 per month adds features like recording videos and supporting groups of three or more.

Video conferencing use has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic as school, work, family reunions, doctor’s visits, weddings, funerals and everything in the rest of life have been brought online . The change put Zoom in the spotlight and created competing options like Microsoft Teams, Apple FaceTime, and Google Meet for everyday life.

Brave’s decision, which started as a test called Brave Together in 2020, shows that the tech industry is not done trying to refine this basic communication tool. The Brave effort, as with its browser as a whole, focuses on attracting people who will appreciate its privacy.

When you use Zoom, a leading video conferencing system, the company will know who you are when you go online. Brave Talk, however, uses an anonymous identification system that keeps Brave in the dark about your identity, Brave CEO Brendan Eich said. .

“If you log into Brave Talk, all Brave knows is that you are allowed to use the service, not who you are,” and you don’t even have to log in for in-brain chats – one-on-one, he said. Brave’s identification system “ensures that we don’t know who the users are and who they are talking to.” This login information can be very private information even though end-to-end encryption prevents a video conferencing service from spying on what you are actually saying.

When Zoom came to power in 2020, it encountered privacy concerns from critics who wanted end-to-end encryption, which secures communications even from intermediary parties transferring data. Zoom has since added this encryption.

About 36 million people use Brave each month, the company said. It’s a notable population, and the company hopes it will grow to 50 million this year.

To start a Brave Talk conference, you’ll need Brave, but the people joining the call just need a browser.

Brave Talk is integrated with Brave browsers for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android browsers. For now, the mobile versions only work with Brave Talk premium subscriptions, but Brave plans to add support for the free tool in the coming weeks.

Premium features include support for three or more people in a conference, the ability for meeting organizers to disable participants, password access control, and an option to host meetings with hundreds of people .

Correction, 11:05 am PT: This story distorted the requirements for using Brave Talk. The Brave browser is only needed to start a video conference.

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