(Note that this page is a work in progress and may be updated frequently)
Brave for desktop is built on top of the open-source Chromium project. We add features on top of what is already there and we also remove features or pieces of the code. These deviations we make that touch the core Chromium code are done via patching.
Chromium is not the same as Google Chrome. For some differences, see https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromium/src/+/master/docs/chromium_browser_vs_google_chrome.md.
How it works
Chromium source is fetched
The gclient utility (part of depot tools) will fetch the official Chromium source code. The tag that is fetched is captured in our package.json(for example,
70.0.3538.35). All of the source code will be downloaded into the
Brave code is fetched
As part of the setup process, we also fetch our own code. The brave-core repository has the code that makes the browser Brave. The branch that should be checked out is also contained in that package.json. There is also a DEPS file in brave-core that pulls in sub-dependencies (such as the brave-extension)
Hooks are run
After the gclient sync runs and fetches all the code (including brave-core), the hooks are run. One of the hooks that runs applies the patches (which you can see here) that are contained in brave-core. If you'd like to know more details about HOW the patching works, you can view our patching wiki page.
What Chromium features are removed for privacy/security reasons?
Services & Features We Disable Entirely
- Google accounts integration ("GAIA") is disabled
- All features that send data to Google are removed from settings
- DNS prefetching is disabled
- Chrome Google URL Tracker is disabled
- Domain service reliability is disabled
- Inline extensions are disabled
- Background sync is disabled
pingattribute is disabled
- Disable Battery API
- Disable WebBluetooth API
- WebRTC debug log uploading is disabled
- Uploading settings after resetting profile is disabled
- Retrieving OEM default settings after resetting profile is disabled
- Tracing crash log uploading is disabled
- Google Cloud Messaging is disabled
- Firebase Cloud Messaging is disabled
- Push client channel updates are disabled
- Network time tracker is disabled
- Google-assisted address normalization is disabled
- Specific features are disabled on startup via the CLI (search for
- Remove dl.google.com repository from Linux packages
- Disable metrics reporting
- Disable Lookalike URLs Navigation Suggestions
- Disable Reporting Observers and Reporting API
- Disable Scroll To Text Fragment
- Disable Motion Sensors
- Disable navigator.credentials
- Disable Android OTP integration
- Disable SXG
- Disable NFC
- Disable WebBundles
- Disable Client Hints (lang)
- Disable Direct / Raw Sockets
- Disable Idle Detection
- Disable Notification Triggers
- Disable File System API
- Disable Digital Goods API
- Disable Serial API
- Disable Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC)
- Disable Network Information API
Services We Proxy Through Brave Servers
Google does not receive any information about which client is performing these requests (not even your IP address).
- SafeBrowsing requests are proxied
- Geolocation requests are proxied
- Plugin updates are proxied
- Certificate revocation requests are proxied
- Requests for CRLSets are proxied
- Requests for component updates are proxied
- Requests for spellcheck dictionaries are proxied
- Requests in devtools are proxied
Modified Features and Functionality
- Referrer values are capped to
strict-origin-when-cross-originand can only be tightened by referrer policy, not weakened. In addition, cross-origin requests from a
.onionservice have an empty
Refererheader and a
Originheader just like the Tor Browser.
- Media Router (Chromecast) is disabled by default on Desktop. You can turn it on by toggling the switch in brave://settings.
- Download protection remote lookups omit URLs and filenames (https://github.com/brave/brave-core/pull/6763).
- Have StorageManager.estimate report a fixed value( issue #11543)
- Many features have randomness added or values generalized as a defense against fingerprinting, including:
- The list of hostnames with pinned CA certificates is replaced with a Brave-specific one.
- Restore gesture requirement for async clipboard write access
Some of the above (along with other issues) were previously tracked in https://github.com/brave/brave-browser/issues/13.
You may notice some requests to Google domains. Some of these, such as
update.googleapis.com are needed to check for extension updates if you installed extensions.
How does Brave compare to ungoogled-chromium?
ungoogled-chromium, per their GitHub page:
ungoogled-chromium is Google Chromium, sans integration with Google. It also features some tweaks to enhance privacy, control, and transparency(almost all of which require manual activation or enabling).
We have an issue captured for pulling in relevant patches from the
ungoogled-chromiumproject similarly has an issue captured where they mention pulling in patches from Brave.