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Ulaa Kids Mode, a safe online platform for children.


Zoho launches web browser geared to privacy

Ulaa is designed to provide surveillance-free browsing with built-in blockers to protect against tracking.

Global technology company Zoho has launched a privacy-centric web browser that aims to provide users with a more secure browsing experience by universally blocking tracking and website surveillance. 

The Ulaa browser is expected to compete with existing privacy-focused browsers such as DuckDuckGo due to features that protect users’ personal data and activity from surveillance and tracking.

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,” says Andrew Bourne, regional manager of Zoho Africa. “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. 

“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, productivity, and user modes. The browser features ad and data tracking blockers that prevent unauthorised push notifications, pop-ups, and time tracking. It does not track or share user data with any third parties and prohibits DNS prefetching and 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 and 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 also disables the API that allows websites to connect and communicate with devices connected to the user’s computer or wifi network.

Ulaa’s productivity features include tabs management options, integrated productivity apps, such as Zia Search for existing Zoho users, Text2Speech, and Zoho Notebook, a dedicated note-taking space that works across all tabs. The browser also includes Annotator, a new, built-in feature that can add annotations directly to web pages and images.

Ulaa has five browsing modes that are isolated from each other, providing  protected browsing experiences. Users can use Dynamic Mode Switching to save preferred modes for specific websites, and Ulaa 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.

The browser has Personal and Work Modes, which 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.

Ulaa’s Developer Mode is for web developers and testers. It has developer tools and suggested extensions to ensure website compatibility and test new features. Users can inspect HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and track assets and load time.

The 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, and features like Child Lock and Learning-on-the-Go restrict access to other modes.

Finally, the Open Season Mode has no privacy restrictions, with no ad or tracking blockers, and no UI or feature breakages.

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