Quetta: first look at the privacy-first browser for Android

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 25, 2024
Updated • Jan 26, 2024
Browsers
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Quetta is a new web browser that is now available for Android. The developers of the browser promise strong privacy protections and features. In this first look review, we will be taken a closer look at the browser to verify these claims.

Quetta is available for Android at this point. Versions for other operating systems are promised, but not yet available. The browser is based on Chromium, the same source as most Android browsers.

Privacy is the foundation of Quetta according to the website. The browser "does not collect, store or share any data". Built in tools, including an ad-blocker and script controls, protect user data by default.

A feature comparison on the website compares Quetta with other browsers on Android. The list is divided into privacy and smart utilities features. It should not come as a surprise that Quetta is the only browser that supports all listed features.

Quetta Browser Android

Quetta includes an ad-blocker and tracker blocker, fingerprint protections and HTTPS Everywhere. The company lists data vault and private downloads, which only it supports.

Data vault protects user data, such as bookmarks, the browsing history or download records, through biometric verification. It is disabled by default but users may enable it in the settings. The private downloads feature is not explained on the website or in the browser.

Script control gives users control over JavaScript. The feature may be turned off for all sites or individual sites. You may turn off JavaScript by default and allow it to run on specific sites only.

On the non-privacy side Quetta supports a range of features. Notable are the video downloader, background audio playback, translations, and reader functionality.

Since the browser is offered via Google Play, Quetta's video downloader does not work on Google Play. Google prohibits this for Android apps and also Chrome extensions. It may be used on other video sites, including YouTube front-ends, with a long-tap on the video interface.

Background audio playback does not work on YouTube as well. Quetta displays the play option in the notifications area of the phone. You need to start playback actively when you browse away from the video or audio site to continue listening.

Probably one of the biggest features is not even mentioned by the developers at this time: extensions support. You can visit the Chrome Web Store to install extensions from it. Note that there is no interface displayed when you use the browser; this makes it difficult to control extensions and even renders some unusable. If the extension does not require interaction, it should work fine.

There is no link to the Extensions management page, but you may load it by typing quetta://extensions. Most Chromium-based browsers do not support extensions on mobile. Quetta is not the first browser, but it is one of the few Chromium-based browsers that does. Whether that is an oversight by the developers or a feature that is not yet ready for public use remains to be seen. The extensions system worked well during limited tests.

The built-in adblocker works well and you get some control when you tap on the shield icon. There you see all available privacy controls and some statistics. You can turn off the ad-blocker or tracking prevention for a specific site here. Other privacy options may also be set to custom values for specific sites using the menu. Granular controls, which extensions like uBlock Origin offer, are not supported.

Quetta criticism

Quetta makes a lot of promises. The browser appears well designed and some of its features are useful.

Some questions remain unanswered at this point. One of the first that always comes to mind is how is the project financed? It is not mentioned and a disclosure on the website might alleviate concern in this regard. It is possible that money is generated through search engine deals or plans to create a "Pro" version. Another red flag, at least for some, is that the browser is not open source.

The feature comparison on Quetta's website is obviously biased. Any browser maker could create a list that only their browser supports 100%.

At least some users may not like that Quetta displays the first few letters of the page title in its address bar and not the URL. The URL is revealed when you tap on the title, but even then it is only shown partially due to a lack of space.

Closing Words

Quetta is a mobile browser that works really well. It is fast and has excellent web compatibility thanks to its Chromium source. It comes with a range of privacy and usability features, including content blocking and video downloading.

The ability to install extensions gives it a leg up in comparison to most Chromium-based browsers, but not against browsers such as Firefox, which also do support extensions on mobile.

All in all, it is a browser to keep an eye on to see how it develops over time. The developers plan to release a version for iOS in 2024 to cover all mobile systems of importance.

Now You: have you tried Quetta, or would you?

Summary
Quetta: first look at the privacy-first browser for Android
Article Name
Quetta: first look at the privacy-first browser for Android
Description
Quetta is a new web browser for Android that promises strong privacy protections and a rich set of features.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. black box software is shitty said on January 30, 2024 at 3:51 am
    Reply

    ho hum… no open source + reproducable builds?

    Nope. Not even once.

    Just no.

  2. Tony Blair said on January 27, 2024 at 8:52 pm
    Reply

    No sauce, no love.

    I’ll pass.

  3. Bydon is dement said on January 27, 2024 at 1:27 pm
    Reply

    Please give as apk file, please.

    1. Tony Blair said on January 27, 2024 at 8:50 pm
      Reply

      @Bydon is dement:

      Sure. But he still knows how to spell.

      1. Mister Muscle said on February 6, 2024 at 5:54 pm
        Reply

        Going to try this one, intredasted…

  4. SkangaMan said on January 26, 2024 at 12:05 am
    Reply

    I expect the extension code comes from Kiwi browser. If it does, it’s a GPL breach.

    UK Companies House data on Quetta Networks Ltd:

    https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/officers/Y5KOhkpVUICWo-2fu2cLVuxwD-Q/appointments

    This is just the office address registered with Companies House. It’s the same as the one on the Quetta website. There will be hundreds of limited companies registered there.It basically a mail drop.

    1. DeronJ said on January 26, 2024 at 11:05 pm
      Reply

      Interesting! The first thing I thought when I saw extension support was that it sounds just like Kiwi Browser, which has been my go to browser on Android for some time.

  5. GatesFoundation said on January 25, 2024 at 10:30 pm
    Reply

    Another Chromium based browser that will be useless in July when that Manifest v3 crap is enabled. The only true privacy-first browser left is Firefox.

    1. Shadow_Death said on January 26, 2024 at 3:10 pm
      Reply

      Until…. That Google money kicks in and Mozilla is forced to do the same.

      The explanation: Mozilla takes money from Google every year, roughly 500,000,000 a year. Mozilla uses Google as the default search engine. Mozilla once tried to switch to Yahoo as the default search engine and Firefox users weren’t happy. Firefox is roughly 3-4% of the market. So all it would take is for Google decide to not want to partner with Mozilla anymore and all that money to disappear with a side conversation about Mozilla needing to drop Manifest v2.

      It wouldn’t be the first time this kind of conversation happened. Intel and Dell had a similar deal back in the early 2000s where Dell would get money from Intel for not using AMD CPUs.

  6. 🀄 said on January 25, 2024 at 9:42 pm
    Reply

    Martin, I think you meant: “[…] You may turn of[f] JavaScript…”. Astute people do limit what JavaScript is allowed to run on websites they visit.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 26, 2024 at 6:54 am
      Reply

      Yes, thank you!

  7. Tony said on January 25, 2024 at 8:41 pm
    Reply

    Once installing extensions, there does not seem to be a UI in-place to see them when browsing the internet. For example, uBlock Origin does not have a shield anywhere when visiting a site.

  8. Benjamin said on January 25, 2024 at 6:35 pm
    Reply

    …all should in principle be worried that there is only one foundation for today’s browser technology…

  9. Andy Prough said on January 25, 2024 at 5:26 pm
    Reply

    Every proprietary browser I’ve ever seen has ended up being a privacy nightmare. This one is a big fat “no” for me.

  10. Anonymous said on January 25, 2024 at 1:49 pm
    Reply

    Maybe 1 in 1000 people own an iOS device while the rest own Androids, I don’t see how iPhones are devices of importance.

    1. Oxa said on January 25, 2024 at 2:11 pm
      Reply
      1. Anonymous said on January 25, 2024 at 5:04 pm
        Reply

        That’s not how it is here in Serbia my dude. These stats are fake.

      2. Tony Blair said on January 27, 2024 at 8:46 pm
        Reply

        Not fake. The Serbian market is just different from most of the world. It’s probably 50/50 in Denmark.

      3. Lunar Ronin said on January 25, 2024 at 9:44 pm
        Reply

        54% of all smartphones in North America are iPhones. They’re not fake.

  11. PrivacyLast@google.com said on January 25, 2024 at 1:30 pm
    Reply

    Privacy first based on chromium… okay yeah sure.

  12. ShintoPlasm said on January 25, 2024 at 1:28 pm
    Reply

    From the header in their tiny Blog section: “Here, you can deeply understand our unwavering commitment to privacy and explore the latest dynamics of browser updates.”

    Sounds dodgy, and translated from the Chinese to boot. The UK address is probably a fake.

  13. no ukraine, no lgbt said on January 25, 2024 at 12:18 pm
    Reply

    Can anyone provide Quetta apk?

    1. John G. said on January 25, 2024 at 7:41 pm
      Reply

      Have you tried to seek it at Apkfree?

  14. no ukraine, no lgbt said on January 25, 2024 at 12:15 pm
    Reply

    Helpful article, thanks.

    I was mainly interested in whether it supports extensions. The article says that this browser supports extensions.

    But a major drawback of any such programs is that they discriminate against users like me who want to download from their site [ https://www.quetta.net/#downloads ] – some kind of “.apk” attached, but there is always no and we are redirected to [ play.google.com ]. I don’t want to install it from another site, I want them to offer an “.apk” on their site to download from there, and they refer me to another site to download from so I can be accounted for somehow.

    I’m amazed that whatever it is related to “.apk” the developers always don’t provide that and always send us to [ play.google.com ]……………..

  15. bruh said on January 25, 2024 at 11:49 am
    Reply

    Pulls up deckchair
    “The browser is based on Chromium”
    Folds up deckchair and leaves

    1. Anonymous said on January 25, 2024 at 4:24 pm
      Reply

      @bruh
      You need to understand there are only 3 choices, and only Chromium offers the best… so what’s wrong about it? Maybe you should research why developers choose Blink, instead of Gecko….

      In fact, there is certain ‘big’ name browser that started being gecko based in 2015, and then switched to be Blink based until it became a full Chromium browser. One of the reasons was Firefox didn’t support DRM, besides other many, but DRM was mention as an important one, because it is for many.

      First, Mozilla still exists thanks to 400 million from Google. And Second, Firefox has safe browsing, widevine and other Google implementations just as Chromium does, so they are not even investing on anything, they are only grabbing what Google makes, even their Javascript, so they are closer to Chromium than what you people make it seem.

      Chromium is better than Firefox, you like it or not, Chromium has a future and Firefox doesn’t because money matters. So it is dumb to keep complaining about devs choosing Chromium in 2024, when it is the ONLY feature, unless a company brings a new engine, and that’s something not even Microsoft with all their money are doing now.

      Stop forcing yourself to care if a Browser is Chromium or not based, and then only use browsers that are Firefox based, if not, you will not use the internet in few years.

      1. bruh said on January 26, 2024 at 11:38 am
        Reply

        Hey @Anonymous, where in my post did I say anything about Firefox? Whataboutism is even more boring than uninspired chromium forks, fyi.

        If you struggle to read, I’ll re-interpret my own comment just for your sake, “I am bored of pointless money grab browser forks”.

        This is a rhetorical tactic to put someone on the defensive, I know it when I see it. I use chrome and firefox, various versions, where needed, not lamo forks, unless there is a special reason – your assumption that I’m loyal to some browser is unwise. Neither chrome or firefox is particularly nice to use in it’s base configuration. But there are as many chromium forks as there are grains of sand at the beach, and it is very boring – tell me I’m wrong?

        But in 2024, Firefox does still exist, when Chromium is the “ONLY feature” as you put it, maybe you can write a message then?

      2. Anonymous said on January 26, 2024 at 3:19 am
        Reply

        @anon

        In Bizarro Brave land, the browser based on Google Chrome, uses the Google extension and play stores is less Google than the browser that uses none of those.

  16. a fan said on January 25, 2024 at 10:38 am
    Reply

    Just tried it and typing this from it – first impressions are super fast, excellent adblocking (haven’t bothered to get one from the extension store) and best of all was all set up – first time I’ve downloaded a browser either on laptop or mobile and not had to fiddle with it to achieve what I wanted (a browseable web not ruined by ads).

    So thanks Martin for bringing it to my attention – hopefully this maintains or improves from here and gains momentum.

    Think @John G might like this – seems to meet what he’s been talking about recently about a least effort method to protect privacy.

    1. John G. said on January 25, 2024 at 4:44 pm
      Reply

      @a fan, thanks for your first impressions, I have also tested this browser and I agree you 100%. Thanks also to @Martin for this article, a nice recommendation for easy privacy, just install and enjoy! :]

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