Sridhar Vembu-led Zoho Corp on Thursday launched Ulaa, a privacy-centered browser. It is built specifically to secure personal data with pre-built capabilities that universally block tracking and website surveillance.
The browser is equipped with features that allow for privacy customisation, built-in user profile modes, and integrated productivity tools while keeping user data safe and private, the company said in a statement.
“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 Sridhar Vembu, CEO and co-founder of Zoho Corporation.
According to the company, existing browsers use time trackers or idle monitors that feed data back to the software provider and the companies that pay them for user data but Ulaa doesn’t track or share user data with any third parties. DNS Prefetching is also prohibited in Ulaa, so data cannot be cached, nor can motion sensors track mouse movement and clicks.
Ad and data tracking blockers in Ulaa prevent unauthorised push notifications, pop-ups, and time tracking. The software-as-a-service company claims these blockers will protect users against targeted advertising, identity theft, and other forms of online tracking and surveillance.
The browser also disables the API that allows websites to connect and communicate with devices connected to the computer or Wi-Fi network.
“With Ulaa, users don’t have to compromise their privacy to browse the web, which unfortunately has become a surveillance minefield,” Vembu added.
In the short term, Zoho will facilitate their chatbot Zia’s integration with third-party intelligence, as they have done with ChatGPT, bringing the newest technology into the company’s broad portfolio of business solutions. As Zoho progresses, the company intends to take generative AI technology in-house.
In addition, Zoho also said that its currently developing proprietary Learning Language Models (LLMs) capable of conversing, summarising, paraphrasing, and adapting to new tasks with ‘zero-shot’ learning techniques for AI-driven communication and knowledge discovery.
This comes shortly after Vembu submitted a proposal along with Rajiv Kumar, former Niti Aayog vice chairman, and Sharad Sharma, co-founder of iSPIRT Foundation to the central government, asking to establish an AI policy that prioritises openness and transparency.