The Cliqz browser is a secure and privacy-conscious web browser for Windows and macOS. I hadn’t heard much about it until I came across it a few months back.
Background Info on the Cliqz browser
The idea behind Cliqz was for Europe to start better investing and developing its internet technologies such as search engines and web browsers. Cliqz is mostly a web browser, but there is a search engine by the same name that is in beta status.
Cliqz originally started as an add-on for Firefox until the developers decided to take it a step further. In 2016, version 1.0 of the Cliqz browser launched. The interesting thing is Cliqz is a customized version of Firefox, making it stand out among the sea of Chromium-based browsers.
Firing it up
Upon the first launch, you’ll be taken through a small setup wizard asking if you want to turn on anti-tracking, ad blocking and if you want to import data from other browsers.
After going through setup, you’ll see the new tab page, which will show most visited pages as well as news in English, German, Spanish, French, or Italian.
Cliqz browser interface
By default, Cliqz has a blue theme that has engulfed the window. The theme can be changed to standard gray or toggled to a dark mode, which is always appreciated.
The navigation buttons are more compact than they are in Firefox, and there are additional buttons located to the right of the address bar. The first button is of a cursor “clicking” something, which is known as the Cliqz tab.
Here you can toggle on and off the various protections built into the browser. This window is also handy for seeing what things were blocked or prevented on an active page.
Looking at the settings
There was an interesting setting in the search section. By default, the Cliqz browser will use its private search engine if you use the search field on the new tab page. However, if you search from the address bar, the default search engine (Ironically, Google) will be used instead.
Turn off the telemetry
One of the first things I do when I install any browser is head for the telemetry settings to turn them off. At least it was easy to find in settings, and there were two checkboxes that I had to uncheck.
Unique Cliqz browser features
What makes this Cliqz Internet browser stand out from the endless ocean of alternatives to Google Chrome? Here are a few things I found while using it:
Forget Window and Auto forget
In Cliqz, private/incognito windows are known as “forget windows”, but there is one feature I found quite interesting. If the user visits a site that has adult content, Cliqz will automatically open the site in a Forget window.
I actually tried this with an adult site and right before the URL loaded, a private window launched. Another cool thing about this feature is you can add to a custom list of sites that will always launch in a forget window. This could be useful for those trying to buy airline tickets and avoid getting price gouged, visiting heavy tracking Facebook pages, or just going to sites with adult content and not wanting it to get mixed up with daily browsing history.
Built-in Ad blocking
Firefox doesn’t ship with an ad blocker built-in, which usually means people have to go install uBlock Origin or Nano Ad Blocker on their own. Cliqz claims that their built-in ad blocker is the “fastest ad blocker on the market”, even faster than uBlock Origin or the native ad blocker in Brave browser. The ad blocker used in Cliqz is from Ghostery, a company that was purchased by Cliqz in 2017.
I’m not sure why this included in a browser that promotes itself on privacy, but there is a “Cliqz Offers” feature that when enabled will supposedly show you “attractive offers based on your interests.”
When I clicked the more info link, it took me to a German-language page for “My Offrz,” which kinda explained what this feature is, but I wasn’t convinced that this is necessary to be baked into the browser itself.
Final Thoughts on the Cliqz browser
Hmm, let’s start with some positives. I like that Cliqz is trying something different by basing its browser on Firefox. I think the goal of having a European-based search engine and browser as an alternative to Google’s search and Chrome is worth working towards. The auto private “forget window” feature is extremely cool and I’ve never seen that in any other browser out there.
What I don’t like
The name Cliqz. Maybe it looks or sounds better in its native German market, but it comes off very sketchy and sounds like a marketing company. I can’t be the only person that was hesitant to try this browser just from the name alone. It should be renamed to something that looks like a real word. Think about the other browsers out there now: Safari, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Brave. Except for Firefox, most of them are simple words.
If you’re going to promote your company and browser around privacy, I don’t think including a shopping assistant called “Offrz” creates a positive impression. It looks spammy and diminishes whatever brand value you were hoping to achieve.
Finally, I hope the Cliqz browser gets renamed, and the developers sort out their branding and trust issues because it’s always good to have competition and choice in the browser market.