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Zoho Launches Privacy-Centric Web Browser, Ulaa


Ulaa, a privacy-centred browser by Zoho Corporation, launched today -- built specifically to help users secure their personal data and activity by providing a browser solution that universally blocks tracking and website surveillance. 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 users' data. Ulaa is the next step in Zoho Corporation's long-standing commitment to privacy, and was designed to help users protect their personal information and internet activity from the prying eyes of user tracking. The web browser comes equipped with features that allow for privacy customisation, built-in user profile modes, and integrated productivity tools while keeping user data safe and private. Users can also sync browsing sessions between devices -- either an entire browser window or a singular tab -- allowing them to use multiple devices for the same browsing session seamlessly.  

 

"Privacy continues to be an uphill battle in the world of internet browsers because the model is broken -- browsers are offered by vendors with ad-based business models so the incentive to gather, sell, or buy user data is significant. This is meant to leave little room for users to guard their privacy, becoming accustomed to sacrificing it in the name of access or convenience," 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.

 

Zoho expansion

To coincide with Zoholics, Zoho’s flagship event, the company also announced a series of upcoming products and integrations, as well as growth in upmarket customers. To cater to SMBs, Zoho announced the availability of public beta for Zoho Publish, Zoho Tables, and Zoho Solo, aimed to help solopreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs start, build, and run their operations. The tools are expected to be available to Australian businesses later this year.

 

As the operating system for business, irrespective of industry or size, Zoho also today announces sweeping investments across its entire portfolio to accelerate upmarket momentum after a three-year, 65% CAGR in mid-market and enterprise segments. The company now boasts more than 90 million users across more than 600,000 global businesses of all sizes.

 

Zoho is announcing critical investments tailored to mid-market and enterprise businesses across go-to-market services, new products, platform extensibility, AI, and privacy and security. These investments are aimed at transforming the enterprise customer experience and systematically enabling customer success.

 

And, in its latest commitment to enable businesses to tap into the burgeoning potential of Artificial Intelligence, Zoho revealed execution plans and ongoing investment in AI, beginning with the launch of 10 generative AI Zoho application extensions and integrations, powered by ChatGPT. Zoho's developing AI strategy includes platform expansion and its innovation roadmap with a focus on delivering superior customer experience and value while ensuring the highest level of customer privacy and security. The integration of Generative AI technology with Zoho's homegrown AI, Zia, reinforces customer experience, privacy, and value.

 

Ulaa: Utmost protection while browsing the web

Ulaa, a word derived from the Tamil language, means journey or voyage, and 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.

    • 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 auto-reset on every startup for further protection.

    • 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 a computer's network.

  • User Modes

    • 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; to keep browsing sessions separate from other users/members of the family; or with more bells and whistles when in developer mode.

      • Personal and Work Modes - Both modes offer users a clear and easy way to decipher between browsing functions for at home or at work. Personal Mode, for example, can be where users do all of their online banking, music or video streaming, or shopping. They can view their browsing history, search records, favourite pages, and cookie data without having to sign in to Ulaa. This mode enables secure logins into user accounts, prevents ads, and maintains online privacy.

        • Work Mode can be dedicated to 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 and apps that promote creativity, and is easy to navigate, regardless of age. Added features such as Parental Control, Child Lock, and Learning-on-the-Go restrict the child’s access to other modes for worry-free web browsing.

      • 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 without hindrances of UI or feature breakages -- 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 monitored online.

    • Ulaa allows Dynamic Mode Switching, where users can 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. Additionally, when a website is opened that was previously opened in another mode, users will be prompted to switch back to that mode.

  • 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, close tabs that are no longer needed, 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.

 

"There are two major trends impacting how people interact with the vast number of websites, applications, and tools available on the Internet. The first is that data privacy is becoming a prime consideration with increasingly concerned with the improper use of their data. The second is the preference for consolidating around major platforms that provide access to the wide range of services we need and use on a daily basis. The gateway for both is the Internet browser, which is why Google, Microsoft, and Apple have all invested massive energy in the space — and also why many users have felt that they needed to sacrifice their desire for privacy for the platform's ease of use," said Charles Araujo, Principal Analyst at The Experience Report.

 

"Today, Zoho seeks to offer users the best of both worlds with Ulaa. While it provides the same sort of platform access as its much larger competitors — using the same Zoho account that provides access to its vast suite of productivity and business software — Ulaa is a privacy- and human-first browser that prioritises the sanctity of a user's data over its capture and monetisation. Loaded with built-in features, Ulaa is a formidable new entry that should be of great interest to all privacy- and productivity-minded consumers and business users."

 

Ulaa is free to all and its desktop version is fully available and can be downloaded here. The iOS and Android versions are currently in beta and available for download. For more information, please visit: https://ulaa.com/  

 

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