On Thursday, Zoho Corporation launched a privacy-centred browser called Ulaa.
The browser is built specifically to help users secure their personal data and activity by providing a browser solution that blocks tracking and website surveillance.
The web browser offers features that allow for privacy customization, built-in user profile modes, and integrated productivity tools, while keeping user data safe and private. Users are also able to sync browsing sessions between devices—either an entire browser window or a single tab—allowing them to use multiple devices during the same browsing session.
“We decided that it is important that we give people the ability not to compromise on their freedom. It’s a browser that by default blocks all trackers. It keeps your information secure,” said Chandrashekar LSP, Zoho Canada managing director.
Ulaa was developed to protect against tracking and surveillance, and is rooted in three main areas: Privacy, User Modes, Productivity.
Ulaa does not track or share user data with any third parties. DNS prefetching is prohibited so data cannot be cached, as are motion sensors that track mouse movement and clicks.
Ulaa offers users multi-ID modes. The unique IDs are tied to the browser, which are refreshed frequently to add an extra layer of protection from tracking software.
In addition to privacy customizations, anonymized user data and stats, geographical data isolation, end-to-end encryption, and privacy reports, Ulaa disables the API that allows websites to connect and communicate with devices connected to a computer or WiFi network.
It blocks the Web Serial Api, which is intended to enable communication with serial devices like arduino boards, microcontrollers, and similar external circuits. According to the company, additional features that allow users to quickly see whatever is blocked on a website, and choose to allow it if they are okay with it, will be implemented.
When using Ulaa, users are able to switch among five modes, based on their preferred browsing experience. Each mode is completely isolated from the others, ensuring a protected browsing experiences unique to the specific mode.
These include personal and work modes, developer mode, kids mode, open season mode, and dynamic switching mode.
Personal and Work Modes – Both modes offer users an easy way to differentiate between browsing functions for home or work. Personal Mode can be used for online banking, video streaming, or shopping, for example. Work Mode can be dedicated to work functions and automatically pull in the apps, websites, and browser extensions that a person uses often in their job.
Developer Mode – Designed for professional web developers and testers, developer mode includes a suite of developer tools and suggested extensions in the browser. This mode allows users to ensure their websites are compatible with different browsers and devices.
Kids Mode – This mode allows parents to provide a safe online space for their children to use the internet. It comes with native content filtering that protects children from accessing inappropriate content, as well as Parental Control features.
Open Season Mode – This mode comes with absolutely no privacy restrictions. The red theme of this mode serves as a reminder of disabled data protection features, and informs the user they are being surveilled online, Zoho says.
Dynamic Mode Switching– Users can ask Ulaa to remember which websites belong in certain modes. The next time the user visits that website, Ulaa will automatically prompt to open the site in the pre-selected mode.
“You really have control of how you want to access the internet. And we want to put the power in the hands of the users,” LSP said.
Ulaa features integrated apps that the company says boost productivity, such as Zia Search for existing Zoho users, Text2Speech, and Zoho Notebook. It also offers a feature called Annotator, a new, built-in tool that can add annotations directly to web pages and images.
“We believe it is important that personal information is secured even more. There is not a single browser today that gives you that control, which is so unfortunate,” LSP noted.
He said that Ulaa’s launch comes at the right time, allowing users to take control of their online presence and privacy without any compromise, adding that it also allows users to actually get a sense of how their data is being protected. The browser will provide metrics and a dashboard on tracking or attempts to track information from a user, and how much of it has been blocked.
“We make the information available to you so that you know what Ulaa has protected you from,” he said.