Zoho launches Ulaa, a free privacy-focused web browser for Windows, iOS and Android

Built to specifically address the growing concerns over online privacy, Zoho has launched Ulaa, a privacy-focused browser that comes equipped with pre-installed tools capable of blocking tracking and website surveillance.

Ulaa (a word derived from the Tamil language that means journey or voyage) offers customization options, built-in browser modes, and integrated productivity tools, while ensuring that user data remains confidential. Additionally, users can synchronize their browsing sessions between devices -- whether an entire browser window or a single tab -- enabling seamless use of multiple devices within the same browsing session.

Highlights of the new browser include:

  • Privacy
    • Ad and data tracking blockers prevent tracking of user data by websites and third-party trackers along with blocking unwanted ads, notifications, and pop-ups. This helps protect users against targeted advertising, identity theft, and other forms of online tracking and surveillance. On the contrary, existing browsers use time trackers or idle monitors and feed user data back to the software provider, making it more difficult for users to maintain their privacy.
    • Ulaa does not track or share user data with any third parties. DNS pre-fetching is prohibited, so data cannot be cached, as are motion sensors that track mouse movement and clicks.
    • Typically, browser IDs can be used to track users even after they have signed out of the browser. Ulaa has a multi-ID model, which is frequently refreshed, making it impossible to correlate a signed in user to a browsing session; adds an extra layer of protection from tracking software. Users can enable browser ID auto-reset on every startup for further protection.
    • 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's network.
  • Modes
    • Dynamic Mode Switching -- Ulaa users can toggle between five unique modes based on their desired browsing experience, with each mode completely isolated from others, offering protected browsing experiences unique to the specific mode. Dynamic Mode Switching enables users to ask Ulaa to open and remember which websites belong in certain modes. The next time the user visits that website, Ulaa will automatically prompt to open the site in pre-selected mode. Ulaa's five modes are:
      • Personal Mode -- This mode can be where users do all of their online banking, music or video streaming, or shopping. They can view their browsing history, search records, favorite pages, and cookies data without having to sign in to Ulaa. This mode enables secure logins into user accounts, prevents ads, and maintains online privacy.
      • Work Mode -- Meant to be used for dedicated work functions and automatically pull in the apps, websites, and browser extensions that a person uses most for work. With a stringent ad blocker enabled, users are protected from intrusive ads, possible phishing attacks, and more, so they can stay focused and productive.
      • Developer Mode -- Designed for professional web developers and testers, Ulaa's 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, and also offers the ability to test new features and develop cross-platform applications. Developers can inspect currently loaded HTML elements, CSS styles, and JavaScript within Developer Mode all the while keeping track of the assets the page has requested, monitor how long they take to load, and more.
      • Kids Mode -- This family friendly special mode provides a safe online space for children to browse, learn, play fun games, and explore content online. It comes with native content filtering that protects children from accessing inappropriate content, as well as Parental Control features that ensure websites identified by the parent are blocked when using Kids Mode. The kid-specific mode comes equipped with ad-free entertainment and learning games, apps that promote creativity, and is easy to navigate, regardless of age.
      • Open Season Mode -- This mode comes with absolutely no privacy restrictions. With disabled ad blockers and tracking blockers, this mode enables access to all websites including "zero-restriction" sites -- similar to asking UIaa to behave like an average browser. The sharp red theme of this mode serves as a reminder of disabled data protection features, and informs the user they are being surveilled online.
  • Productivity
    • Ulaa comes equipped with tabs management options to view all open tabs in one place to be grouped and organized. Users can easily switch between tabs, close tabs that are no longer need, or move tabs to a different mode or a new window.
    • Ulaa comes with integrated apps that boost productivity, including Zia Search for existing Zoho users, and Zoho Notebook, a dedicated note-taking space that works across all tabs, so a user can easily jot down ideas, reminders, or important information without leaving their browsing session.
    • Ulaa includes Annotator, a new, built-in feature that allows users to screen capture a page or a page section, add annotations directly to web pages and images, and easily share their edits and notes.
    • All Chrome browser extensions are compatible with Ulaa, and can be directly installed from the Chrome Webstore.

"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, which runs counter to protecting users. This conflict between user's preferences and browser's business models means end users lose," said Raju Vegesna, Zoho's Chief Evangelist.

"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 who value their own privacy and their kids privacy.

The desktop version of Ulaa can be downloaded here. The beta iOS and Android versions are also available to download now.

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