Exede's Project Sparrow browser - how does it work?

  • 4
  • Question
  • Updated 11 months ago
  • Answered
I just an email notice from Exede offering to let me beta test their new browser - Project Sparrow. They claim it is faster than any other browser, optimized for satellite internet. Can anyone share how this is done? It can't speed up the connection, that's basic physics. It could do some pre-fetching, perhaps just DNS lookups on links, perhaps pre-fetching links within the page. Of course, that would drive your data use through the roof (which is not a problem for Exede, I suppose). It could just have a bigger cache, but that would be of pretty limited impact. Or it could just be marketing hype. Anybody know?
Photo of NewMexicoMountains

NewMexicoMountains

  • 47 Posts
  • 9 Reply Likes

Posted 1 year ago

  • 4
Photo of J&J

J&J

  • 1687 Posts
  • 1003 Reply Likes
  
Sumptin' fishy about that browser.

#1.  I've never heard about it.
#2.  Exede employee 'Alex' usually comes here to announce things like that first.
#3. They would not offer it to just anybody at first.
#4.  It would go to the Champions  first to see how well it works
#5.  It would then go to me to see how bad it works.
#6. It would get tweaked to get it right.
#7. It would be announced and a web download link would be supplied for everybody.

"Project Sparrow" ???  Sounds like a thoroughly hacked version of someone else's browser.
Enter at your own risk, but then... I could be totally wrong.
 
(Edited)
Photo of DavidBrowserGuy

DavidBrowserGuy

  • 15 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
Hi Craig,
Want to try it?  Just send us an email at projectsparrow@viasat.com.
Photo of Jim16

Jim16

  • 2260 Posts
  • 1963 Reply Likes
It was sent to me today but I can't get it to run. 

Photo of J&J

J&J

  • 1687 Posts
  • 1003 Reply Likes
Was it supplied in the email as a link or attachment or built-in to the message?

Hmmmm   "ViaSatUpdate.EXE"   I smell smoke-  far off in the distance.. is that your computer?

If it's a link... can you right-click on it and select  "copy link location" and paste it in a follow up post?
 
Photo of Stephen Rice

Stephen Rice, Champion

  • 2242 Posts
  • 1113 Reply Likes
Viasat modems already do that fancy prefetching stuff in the modem itself.
Photo of NewMexicoMountains

NewMexicoMountains

  • 47 Posts
  • 9 Reply Likes
not if you're running a VPN, they're not.
Photo of DavidBrowserGuy

DavidBrowserGuy

  • 15 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes

As NewMexicoMountains mentioned, the acceleration technology that is embedded in the modem won’t work for VPNs.  It also won’t work for encrypted (HTTPS) traffic, which now comprises more than half of all clicks.  Looking to the future, we expect that 75% of clicks will be encrypted by 2019.  So, we needed a new way to provide our customers with fast web browsing.  The Viasat browser builds acceleration technology right into the browser.

Photo of Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

  • 3896 Posts
  • 3974 Reply Likes
Exede Alex mentioned it in passing in a thread here a few days ago although not by name. It's a beta, supposed to be via invite only - note the query parameters in the url. Was mentioned by Alex in the other forum quite a while ago by name. I'd imagine the usual suspects got the invite - some are likely from the other forum - NewMexicoMountains looks familiar although new to these parts ;)

From the FAQs:

Like many users, we love Chrome; we just wanted it better and faster. We built Project Sparrow using the same open-source code base, preserving the security features, useful extensions, and look and feel of Chrome, but adding our own innovations to make it better.
In other words, it was built off the Chrome open-source code base, Chromium - it's Chrome-like not Chrome. 

ViaSat going an extra mile here as opposed to the old Wildblue  Optimizer - in my case, thanks but no thanks. Not that I was invited (I wasn't), but my own philosopy is thatViaSat is sticking its toes in water where it doesn't belong - much like the router. Attempting to provide an better experience even iuf there's some minimal privacy invasion - anybody else catch the irony between the lightbulb and lock paragraphs on that page? Not that I see any evil intent - they're just trying some optimization that yields better overall bandwidth utilization for all (similar to the video stream "optimization").         
However, I can see the rationale in providing it to novice, non-technical users that can't or wont understand some web complexities - provided it's optional - some require an easy button solution. It could wind up helping those of us that optimize ourselves - but could also have the opposite impact if things like Craig mentions above (HTML5 media) aren't handled correctly.  To be successful, they'd need a good mix of both technical and non-technical beta users.
(Edited)
Photo of NewMexicoMountains

NewMexicoMountains

  • 47 Posts
  • 9 Reply Likes
Yes, I used to participate in the other forum.
And I agree that this seems like a case of Viasat operating where it doesn't belong. Developing and maintaining a browser is a major undertaking, even using the open source codebase of an existing browser. In the past I haven't seen indications that they are capable of this level of code development/maintenance, but I could be wrong.

Personally I think there are much easier and more useful things the development staff could be doing to help their customers. For years I've suggested that sending the "you've used 70% of your quota" should be more adaptive. Getting the message on the last day of the billing period isn't particular useful. Likewise, telling me on day 4 isn't as helpful as telling me on day 1 or 2 that I'm burning data like crazy. Also, when you do find yourself burning data like crazy, having some tools to find out what's going on would be helpful. For about a year I had access to a URL that would give a fair amount of detail (it was a technician tool apparently), but that has ceased.

And the single biggest help they could give me is allow me to block domains at the modem. I'm talking about the Apple update servers. Every time I think I've got my iOS devices configured not to automatically download updates Apple changes something and breaks it. With four devices in the household, an update can burn through half a month's quota. (Here in the real boonies we don't get those (relatively speaking) generous plans that Viasat-1 users get.)
Photo of Bradley

Bradley

  • 1087 Posts
  • 353 Reply Likes
Maybe you are right about their focus.  Looks like they are going to have some stiff competition in about two years.  


(link removed, this is a Beta Test and should not be shared )
(Edited)
Photo of Jim16

Jim16

  • 2260 Posts
  • 1963 Reply Likes
Well, I consider myself a non-tech guy.  I can't get it to work on my windows 7 laptop or windows 8 desktop.  Get that pop-up about the firewall.  It shows as being allowed on the windows firewall.  " We also appreciate feedback, so use the contact information on the page that opens when you start a new tab or browsing session"   Can't do that if I can't get it to run!
(Edited)
Photo of Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

  • 3896 Posts
  • 3974 Reply Likes
I'll put you down as a thumbs down on the install, connectivity and feedback experience. Thank you for participating in our beta program  ;)

Could be firewall or anti-virus or antimalware - looks like a non-specific application detected error.

P.S. I can't even get it to download - wasn't invited to the party and assume there's a seperate access code also provided.

P.P.S From the FAQs: "If you have a question or issue not already addressed, we are here to help. Please email us at ProjectSparrow@viasat.com and we will get back to you with an answer or solution to help make your Project Sparrow experience the best possible." Ask for Cap'n Jack ;)
(Edited)
Photo of Bradley

Bradley

  • 1087 Posts
  • 353 Reply Likes
I actually wanted to try it, but I see it's not ready for mobile platforms.  Don't use the PC that much for browsing (who does anymore?).  
Photo of Diana

Diana, Viasat Employee

  • 2243 Posts
  • 424 Reply Likes
Hello forum members,  Yes, Viasat has a beta test for the Sparrow Web Browser we have developed. Viasat selected several customer and sent an email to invite them to give it a try.  If you can't download it, please call Customer Care at 855.463.9333 for help. Thanks
Photo of Alex

Alex, Viasat Corporate Communications

  • 671 Posts
  • 297 Reply Likes
The Sparrow browser uses a type of pre-fetching that's different than any of our other web acceleration tech. We'll have more details soon, and if you have been invited to try the beta, please don't share the link. Thanks!
Photo of NewMexicoMountains

NewMexicoMountains

  • 47 Posts
  • 9 Reply Likes
Thanks for pointing this out.

In a completely unscientific and unrepresentative survey I checked the currently open tabs in my browser for prefetch links. The page you referenced about prefetch contains two such links. The page I currently had open from the NYTimes had none. Likewise for Wikipedia, Amazon,  and 6 other random pages in tabs.

As noted, this is not a scientific survey, but suggests to me that the prefetch annotation is not very common. Of course that could change in the future.

The Sparrow info says it uses "AI" to learn your patterns, which suggests it will not restrict itself to the prefetch tag which could lead to more prefetch than Firefox currently performs.

And no, the invite said nothing about offering extra data in return for participating.
Photo of Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

  • 3893 Posts
  • 3972 Reply Likes
Its use is pretty common among less reputable, poorly designed sites that simply use it to abuse your data for ad purposes but an ad blocker should handle those. Of more concern is the HTML5 video preload attribute - which buffers video streams regardless of your intent to click play and actually watch them. Only add-in, I know that tames those is Flash Control (not to be confused with other flash blockers) and preload should not be confused with autoplay. Hopefully , Cap'n Jack is addressing that one in this browser.

P.S. Anyone using Firefox, beware the upcoming Version 57.0... if installed, your add-ons/extensions will not work unless they are updated to the newer API; some will not be updating to the new API. 
(Edited)
Photo of DavidBrowserGuy

DavidBrowserGuy

  • 15 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes

Hi, I'm a member of the browser engineering team and would like to address some of the questions that you have asked regarding how the browser works.

The Viasat Project Sparrow browser uses machine learning to get faster over time.  On all sites that you visit, you will find it to be at least as fast as Chrome, and once the browser learns how to optimize that site, it will load much faster than Chrome.  The way it works is that when you navigate to a site, the browser is provided with hints that tell it what is most likely to be needed to load the page, so that it can begin loading portions of the page earlier.  When the page is finished loading, the browser tells the hinting service what was actually needed on the page and then machine learning is used to make better hints the next time.

We recommend enabling the ad blocking feature.  Not only does it reduce page size by 30-40%, but because the page becomes more static, the prefetching overhead is much lower – only on the order of a percent or two.  Additionally, when the ad blocker is enabled, privacy trackers are also blocked, so you get a much more private browsing experience.

We are hoping that you will see the same speed-ups in your use that we have measured in the lab.  In our testing, the slowest 25% of sites were about 3x faster than Chrome, once the site had been learned.  (All of the measurements above are relative to Chrome, which was the fastest of the browsers we tested.  We also ran tests that compared performance to Edge, IE, Safari, and Firefox.)

If you run into concerns or questions and would like to communicate directly with the engineering team during the beta testing period, then please send an email to projectsparrow@viasat.com.
Photo of Bradley

Bradley

  • 1087 Posts
  • 353 Reply Likes
When you get a mobile version to try hit me up.
Photo of DavidBrowserGuy

DavidBrowserGuy

  • 15 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
Hi Bradley, We are working on that now and will be launching mobile versions next year.
Photo of Diana

Diana, Viasat Employee

  • 2243 Posts
  • 424 Reply Likes
Hi Forum Members,   Thank you  so much for bring this to our attention! We apologize for any frustrations you experienced with downloading and installing the ViaSat Sparrow Browser.  The problem has been resolved.  If you have not tired it again, please do so now.
  
If you continue to have an issue, please let us know.
Photo of Jim16

Jim16

  • 2260 Posts
  • 1963 Reply Likes
Thanks Diana, it's working now.
Photo of Jim16

Jim16

  • 2260 Posts
  • 1963 Reply Likes
The new browser is fast.  I use Firefox and it is very similar to that so it is easy for me to use.
The first thing I notice is that it displays a bit soft.  Text and images.  image at right is Sparrow.

Photo of Jim16

Jim16

  • 2260 Posts
  • 1963 Reply Likes
They have to improve the resolution on this browser for me to continue to use it.  It is too soft and needs to be sharper.  It becomes uncomfortable to use after a while.

Photo of DavidBrowserGuy

DavidBrowserGuy

  • 15 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
Hi Jim, I have forwarded your feedback to our engineering team.
Photo of DavidBrowserGuy

DavidBrowserGuy

  • 15 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
Hi Jim, Sparrow is built off of Chromium.  Do you see the same issue with Chrome?  Just wondering if this a difference in Chromium vs Firefox rendering and font selection, as we didn't modify that portion of Chromium code.
Photo of Bev

Bev, Champion

  • 3076 Posts
  • 1291 Reply Likes
Is your monitor using it's native resolution? I find that Sparrow, as well as any other browser gets "soft" if I don't have my monitor in it's native resolution. In Native resolution, all are equally sharp. The contrast isn't quite as high in Sparrow as it is in Edge or Firefox but, that can be easily adjusted if a user desires.

For me, I like the slightly lower contrast, makes pages less glaring in many instances adn, really doesn't affect well designed pages.
Photo of gail

gail

  • 7 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Had some issues installing Sparrow browser due to a few what I consider glitches in ViaSat written communication (e.g. I found cutting/pasting the code wouldn't work but typing it in did). Did receive a quick turn around on request for help and received above and beyond assistance from David. Never been happy with Exede here in eastern Va - hope the promised February changes improve the experience. Whether I was selected as a beta tester for Sparrow because I am a non-tech person (which I am) or because I use a massive amount of data (which I do)...either way, I want a faster, improved service. 
(Edited)
Photo of Michael McDowell

Michael McDowell

  • 460 Posts
  • 172 Reply Likes
Cutting and pasting  the code worked fine for me but, I had a problem on one of my laptops.  The Fall Creaters Update broke Chrome, the Black Screen problem, and since Sparrow is based on Chrome, it wouldn't work either.  After I rolled back the update, it worked just fine!
Photo of Brad

Brad, Viasat Employee

  • 3121 Posts
  • 1100 Reply Likes
I personally like it! I've been using it since it was sent to employees to test. By all means give us feedback!
Photo of Ron D Stricklin

Ron D Stricklin

  • 75 Posts
  • 20 Reply Likes
Are you going to offer linux support or at least a Linux compatible binary?
Photo of Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

  • 3844 Posts
  • 3898 Reply Likes
FWIW, it's been implied elsewhere that it will eventually will.

Its base is the Chromium open-source project behind Google Chrome. Chromium projects exist for Windows, OS X, Android and Linux
(Edited)
Photo of Bev

Bev, Champion

  • 3076 Posts
  • 1291 Reply Likes
So far I'm liking Sparrow. Love having UBlock Origin built in, I've used that for years anyway and, it wasn't hard to copy and paste my custom filters over to Sparrow.

It does have a bit less contrast than other browsers, as if all others have half way to bold text and Sparrow has normal text but, I like that.
Photo of gail

gail

  • 7 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I agree. So far so good. Finding morning and afternoon service is decent. Yet to test it in the evening. No issues with contrast. 
Photo of Jim16

Jim16

  • 2252 Posts
  • 1954 Reply Likes
I think that's it Bev.  The text isn't as bold as other browsers.  I guess my old eyes need a bit more definition these days!  I don't hear anyone else complaining so it must just be me.
Photo of Bev

Bev, Champion

  • 3076 Posts
  • 1291 Reply Likes
In the settings, under "Customize font" you can get an extension that allows you to change the font, adjust boldness and so forth. Give it a go, I think you can get it dialed in to your liking.

Hey, I got it just right for my poor old progressive lenses required eyeballs with the extension, which probably should be included by default but, that's why we are testing this bird.
Photo of Jim16

Jim16

  • 2252 Posts
  • 1954 Reply Likes
Thanks Bev, am playing with it now.
Photo of J&J

J&J

  • 1687 Posts
  • 1003 Reply Likes

 

Since the only method of securing a download of this browser is by email link, are the test browsers serialized?  Will ViaSat be monitoring each browsers' activities looking at performance across the multitude of websites users may be visiting looking for anomalies?   If so, will it leak info when being used with a VPN? I'd like to see the privacy policy before jumping into this thing. 

 


Photo of gail

gail

  • 7 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Craig - would like to know your thoughts once you review the privacy policy. 
Photo of Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

  • 3882 Posts
  • 3954 Reply Likes
Craig et al.

All pretty much bolier plate privacy notice for anything like this that involves some minimally invasive surgery to perform optimization in terms of both user experience and data usage. Standard disclaimers on sharing of data collected aimed largely at the "ViaSat Hinting Service to learn and provide better and better hints, which is designed to help enable faster and faster page loads." No tracking by IP, location or other person idenitifier info.

We may share your Service data as follows:
  • Our agents, vendors, consultants, and other service providers (collectively Service Providers”) may receive, or be given access to your Service data in connection with their work on our behalf, provided however, we do not authorize our Service Providers to use your Service data that is PII, or is tied to your browser or device, for purposes other than performing services for us; 
  • To comply with the law, law enforcement or other legal process, and in response to a government request; and
  • If we believe your actions are inconsistent with our terms of use, user agreements, applicable terms or policies, or to protect the rights, property, life, health, security and safety of ViaSat, the Service or its users, or any third party.
As DavidBrowserGuy stated it's necessary to work around some of the limitations of the current web acceleration due to more and more use of HTTPS. Most of it can be turned off it appears.

Not sure if it would impact VPN - but regardless some of that magic is occuring outside of secure channels.

Yes, there are a couple of background process that run for this purpose (and others) it appears

As written very low risk and filled with good intent; however never say never. OPM was supposed to keep my info on Top Security Security application secret (a much more intrusive process)  - that didn;t work out so well and all the taxpayers are now paying for 10 years of Identity Theft Protection for me and others affected. Same can be said for the recent Equifax hack.

Caveat emptor, but I see no evil intent in the policy having evaluated Sparrowinterms of HTML5 media data usage concerns and providing some overall feedback. I've seennothing nefarious going on and am closely watching.

If you've hesitated to download, be advised that there is an EULA that must be agreed to and accepted to install (at least there was for me) - read and heed as needed, some may have clicked through.

The privacy policy is online but I won't give away the link to the overall site since it was removed from this thread previously - should really put it on exede.com/legal - maybe they will. 
(Edited)
Photo of DavidBrowserGuy

DavidBrowserGuy

  • 15 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes

Hi Craig,

Great questions!  We are seeking to provide users with a faster and more private experience, so we are not tracking browsers in any way whatsoever.  We don’t add serial numbers or unique IDs, track by IP or Mac, or use session information or other information that could potentially allow anyone to reconstruct a browsing history.
Photo of J&J

J&J

  • 1687 Posts
  • 1003 Reply Likes
 
 
I  read EULA's.  Anybody can come here and say anything. It's the EULA that will stand when everything else fails.

So it won't do tracking?  Then it does "remembering."  What you said above is in conflict with the ToS of the browser:

1. Limited License Grant and Terms of Use.

a. Consent to Use. When using this Application and navigating to a webpage, or when the Application predicts that you might navigate to a webpage, the Application sends the webpage address you are trying to visit, or are predicted to visit, to ViaSat's Internet Hinting Service. The Internet Hinting Service provides the Application with hints as to how to render the page faster. When the page is finished loading, the Application sends information back to the Internet Hinting Service that describes the loading process so that the hinting system can learn and send better hints next time. The specific information provided to the Internet Hinting Service includes the list of objects on the web page, the time for each object to load, whether any failures occurred loading the objects and object meta-data. To facilitate your use of this Application, product support, product development and for network troubleshooting, you agree to allow ViaSat's Internet Hinting Service to collect and use the information in the manner mentioned in this Section 1(a). You may temporarily limit ViaSat's access to this information by operating the Application in incognito mode.

(Emphasis added)


It is an omnipresent spy on users, much more so than Windows 10 as far as the Internet is concerned.
 
How will it know what browser to send hints to next time?  Either it will build an amazing database of the entire Internet as a lookup table or it must be able to uniquely identify a particular browser to work (tracking cookies? No mention of those above). Cookies are still tracking of a specific computer.  It has to know where that browser has been and that it is returning again. To me, that's tracking.

Does it send website logon information too?  How would it know the difference between a form and a logon?   Maybe it only goes into a machine and no human has an ongoing interaction with that machine (but machines are searchable by humans, even years from now).  The information collected by ViaSat is subject to audit.

The Internet never forgets. People give up their right to privacy like it was nothing important in the first place.  The World Wide Web has a spider lurking someplace and it has an enormous appetite to know everything. Remember, all spiders are poisonous.

I don't think there is any evil intent here.  I truly think ViaSat is trying to provide a more instantaneous Internet experience despite the inescapable latency associated with satellite provided Internet service.

I just think my privacy is worth more than a few microseconds. Remember, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a few crumbs of bread.

I think I'll pass on this one.  Thanks for the invitation.
Photo of Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

  • 3882 Posts
  • 3954 Reply Likes
I'm just going to grab some popcorn, sit back and watch the show on this one, but...

I made a similar argument about the ever present desire for a "better usage usage meter" before it got heated - simply stated anything's possible with some privacy invasion and relinguishing your responsibility. As long as it's an opt-in and clear, I'm good with it. Everybody can make their own choice whether the convenience is worth the risk. Few will even bother to read TOS or privacy policies out of convenience.
Photo of Bev

Bev, Champion

  • 3076 Posts
  • 1291 Reply Likes
That's the AI behind Sparrow, AKA Viasat Hinting Service. The website is added to the AI, but it isn't tied to an individual user in there. Like this forum, Hinting has it in there once, to learn how to optimize it for us, not however many times there are users that visit this forum using Sparrow. (as I understand it anyway.)

In other words like a lot of online services, it collects data but doesn't store much in a user identifiable way.

And if you really want to get down to it, if you're going to do it online, there is no real privacy in it anyway. Given reason and the right tools and experts, they can see what you did online and when you did it, probably for a very long time after you do it, no matter what you do to hide it.

I'm sure that id there were a reason, some jerk someplace could read this as I type, listen in on all of my VOIP and cell phone calls and, snag every bit of data out of my password manager. Do I expect that to happen without my knowledge and consent? No, I've got security in place that is going to  stop the majority of possible problems but, no security suite is 100% bullet proof.
Photo of James

James

  • 333 Posts
  • 51 Reply Likes
its junk , the only reason they want you to use it is so they can see your online activities a lot easier. it is just an outdated browser that they renamed.
Photo of Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

  • 3844 Posts
  • 3898 Reply Likes
Thanks, David. The link provides some further insight beyond even Sparrow ;) 
(Edited)
Photo of Brad

Brad, Viasat Employee

  • 3099 Posts
  • 1090 Reply Likes
I've been on it for I think well over a year at this point. I like it and definitely feel its a faster browser and use it as my default at work. I think if it was being used to spy on users, I'd have had been talked to for spending too much time looking up a perfect meme reply to internal emails. 
Photo of Bev

Bev, Champion

  • 3070 Posts
  • 1286 Reply Likes
LOL @Brad you'd probably get chewed on a bit for joking around with us too. That would be terrible. we have to have fun now and then around here. By the way, did you tell anyone about all of that Satellite Secret Sauce you have hidden in your desk drawer? I f Sparrow were spying, I'm sure it would have seen it by now. LOL

Seriously though, that's about how ridiculous you guys spying on what we do online sounds to me. Sparrow is no more a spy for you than any other browser and, if it was ever needed, any of them could be pretty good spy tools for any ISP.
Photo of Shinyo Free

Shinyo Free

  • 8 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
Thought I would give it a test run, no problems on download or install.
No soft image that I could detect.
I don't know how meaningful or accurate this site is but Sparrow consistently scores in the mid to high 1400's while Chrome was  bouncing around from 1050 to 1380.
http://www.speed-battle.com/speedtest_e.php
Having said that, using Chrome is more than just a browser, it is a portal into your googleverse. I have not tested how well sparrow will integrate with that and have concerns sharing my googleverse with yet another sphere.
(Edited)
Photo of Brad

Brad, Viasat Employee

  • 3099 Posts
  • 1090 Reply Likes
This was posted by a member of Project Sparrow (DavidBrowserGuy) in another thread:

With all the hype about Firefox Quantum (aka 57) being 2x faster, I just had to try it out.  Here is a screen capture showing the Viasat Sparrow browser vs. Firefox loading 10 sites over our satellite.  The same script is driving both browsers; Sparrow is on the left and Firefox is on the right.  The script clears the browser caches and then immediately loads the next site as soon as the page has finished loading.  When the faster browser finishes, a timer is started that measures how much time elapses before the slower browser catches up.

Spoiler alert - There is no contest.  The Viasat Sparrow browser is way faster.
Photo of C0RR0SIVE

C0RR0SIVE

  • 41 Posts
  • 14 Reply Likes
Just curious since Sparrow seems to be based on Chromium...

Does it support GPO's and have an ADMX file for use in a domain like Chrome does?
If it does support group policies, is Viasat going to add any extras in, that will compliment the internet service that Viasat provides?
Extension wise, are the ones available in Chrome also available on Sparrow?

For some people, Chrome has almost become a central component to their lives because of their other devices being so heavily tied to Google.  Would this be able to actually take the place of chrome in such scenarios where one has everything synced together?

From the sounds of things it just sounds like the browser is hard-coded to use a particular proxy outside of the LAN and will ask the proxy to load more frequently accessed content...

Similar to a SQUID proxy server with the added idea of prefetch for the most commonly access objects.

Also sounds like an old school web accelerator that reduces image quality slightly so that it loads more quickly.
(Edited)
Photo of DavidBrowserGuy

DavidBrowserGuy

  • 15 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes

Our vision is to create the instant Internet where pages render almost instantly, over whatever network you are using. To this end, we have taken a very novel approach.  We use machine learning that teaches the browser how to get faster.  The more users that users use it, the faster it gets.  You may be interested in some side-by-side comparisons of Sparrow vs. Safari, Chrome, Edge, Internet Explorer and Firefox – see the videos at the bottom of this page: https://browser.viasat.com/about.html.

Sparrow, like Chrome, is built off of the Chromium open source code base.  As such, you will be able to deploy it in exactly the same manner as you would Chrome and take advantage of Chrome extensions.  At present, Sparrow does not support some Chrome features such as the synching of bookmarks across multiple devices.

When you install Sparrow, there is an option to enable ad blocking.  When ad blocking is enabled, not only are ads blocked, but trackers that expose your private information are also blocked.

Please note that Sparrow does not use any proxies and does not act as a man-in-the-middle for any traffic.  It also does not play around with image quality.  
Photo of Jim16

Jim16

  • 2260 Posts
  • 1963 Reply Likes
"It also does not play around with image quality"
Image quality is definitely degraded.  Pictures are worth a thousand words.
Firefox on the left, Sparrow on the right.