Daniel Benjamin Miller

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2021-08-19 01:00:18

This is not a sponsored post of any kind. I just wanted to share how and why I browse the web on my Android phone. You won’t need to be rooted or using a custom ROM to follow along; any Android user should be able to use this setup. (Sorry iOS users, but you’ll have to stick with what you’ve got.)

From StatCounter data, it is clear that Google Chrome holds an iron grip on the Android browser market. Putting aside its greatest competitor in the mobile market overall, Safari, which only runs on iOS, it has virtually no competition, with the next runner-up being Samsung’s browser (itself based on the same engine). This is a shame, because the experience of running Google Chrome on Android can be a highly frustrating one. It includes no support for extensions or adblocking of any kind. As of the last time I used the mobile web regularly without an adblocker (which, I’ll admit, is more than half a decade ago), there were plenty of modal popup windows, autoplaying videos, intrusive ads and other general annoyances.

Samsung Internet actually does include support for some adblockers, which is a relief — at least a non-negligible chunk of Android users might be practicing web hygiene in its most basic form. In the open-source world, there are two major Chromium forks supporting adblocking in some shape or form. Bromite supports a simple adblock list format; while it’s popular among Android nerds, I find its lack of a full-featured blocker pretty limiting. Kiwi, meanwhile, has support for Chrome extensions, but I had issues with reliability and extension compatibility when I was testing it out. (The installation process for extensions isn’t great either, and some have pointed out troubling privacy issues with the browser.)

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