Zoho, a global technology company, launched, Ulaa, a privacy-centric browser, built specifically to help users secure their personal data and activity by providing a browser solution that universally blocks tracking and website surveillance. The newly-launched web browser’s name originates from the Tamil language and connotes the beginning of a journey into a secured browsing experience.
According to Norton, 85% of global adults want to do more to protect their online privacy, with two-thirds of global consumers feeling that tech companies have too much control over their data. A report by Interpol assessing cybersecurity threats in Africa cites South Africa as having had the highest incidents of targeted ransomware and business email compromise attacks of any African nation.
“Not many browsers on the market today are built to protect user privacy. They were created to protect respective company’s ad-based business models and surveillance companies that complement them. This conflict between user’s preferences and browser’s business models means end users lose,”
said Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager, Zoho Africa.
“With Ulaa, users don’t have to compromise their privacy to browse the web, which unfortunately has become a surveillance minefield. Zoho’s commitment to privacy and a privacy-centric business model allows us to offer a conflict-free, privacy-centric browser.”
Ulaa was developed to protect against tracking and surveillance and is rooted in three main areas:
Privacy: Ad and data tracking blockers prevent unauthorised push notifications, pop-ups, and time tracking. Existing browsers use time trackers or idle monitors to power recommendation algorithms and browser suggestions, which ultimately feeds that data back to the software provider and the companies that pay them for user data. 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. Users have access to Ulaa’s multi-ID model, which offers unique IDs that are tied to the browser, which are refreshed frequently to add an extra layer of protection from tracking software. In addition to privacy customisations, anonymised 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 your computer or wifi network.
Productivity: Ulaa comes equipped with tabs management options to view all open tabs in one place to be grouped and organised. Users can easily switch between tabs or move tabs to a different mode or a new window. It comes with integrated productivity apps, including Zia Search for existing Zoho users, Text2Speech, and Zoho Notebook, a dedicated note-taking space that works across all tabs. Ulaa includes Annotator, a new, built-in feature that can add annotations directly to web pages and images.
User Modes: Ulaa has five browsing modes that are isolated from each other, providing unique protected browsing experiences. Users can use Dynamic Mode Switching to save preferred modes for specific websites. It will automatically open the site in the saved mode when the user visits it again. Users will be prompted to switch modes if a website was previously opened in a different mode.
Personal and Work Modes Both modes are easy to differentiate for home or work use. Personal Mode can be used for banking, streaming, and shopping without signing in, and has secure logins and privacy features like ad-blockers. Work Mode can pull in apps, websites, and extensions for work, and has an ad blocker for protection from phishing attacks.
Kids Mode – This family-friendly Kids Mode provides a safe online space for children to learn, play games, and explore content. It has content filtering and Parental Control features to block inappropriate websites. It’s easy to navigate, has ad-free games and creativity-promoting apps. Features like Child Lock and Learning-on-the-Go restrict access to other modes.
Open Season Mode – This mode has no privacy restrictions, with no ad or tracking blockers, and no UI or feature breakages. It’s similar to an average browser and allows access to all websites, including “zero-restriction” sites. The red theme serves as a reminder of disabled data protection features and informs users they’re being surveilled online.