Naver Whale: the sensible response to Chromium domination

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As I write this article, Google Chrome and other direct derivatives of Chromium comprise (such as Brave and Vivaldi) comprise ~49% of the global browser marketshare (direct dervatives in this instance are defined as those which identify themselves via the user-agent as "Google Chrome" or "Chromium," as such, Opera doesn't count, as it alone features enough modification in its user-agent to identify as "Opera", and alone has ~2% of the global marketshare). This has led to a massive monopoly over the internet, which mirror's Microsoft's dominance with Internet Explorer in the 1990s and 2000s-- sites will develop for Chromium, and render features broken on Gecko/Mozilla based browsers (WebKit/Safari-based browsers are less likely to see features break, as the Apple iPhone series remains dominant in many markets, including ~57% of the USA's total smartphone market [as of writing], therefore developers have an incentive to target WebKit as well).

So how does Naver Whale fix any of this?

The answer is simple (sort of)-- Naver Whale (hereafter, Whale) seems to use a modified version of the Chromium rendering engine, which does break features on some websites (see the screenshot below), as well as the Microsoft Trident/MSHTML rendering engine (in 'plugin'/'compatibility'/'Internet Explorer' mode [the name varies depending on the browser version you're using]), which was utilized from Internet Explorer 4 to 11 (replacing NCSA's Mosaic rendering engine; also still present in the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge's Internet Explorer mode). Looping back to the main Chromium-based rendering engine in Whale, it does maintain some sort of parity with Chromium (and sometimes identifies itself as Google Chrome to websites), but generally errors such as this appear:

I should point out that sometimes the browser does break pages, however, I notice that such instances are fairly rare, and the situation has improved after ~1 year of using the browser.

But it supports Chrome extensions

As I said, it merely appears to have some deviations in the code, thus making web developers work to ensure 100% compatibility (albiet only Korean developers seem to have an interest in ensuring that [KONAT is proudly built with Naver Whale and Internet Explorer users in mind]).

Further on extensions, Whale is one of the few browsers that syncs extensions from a 3rd party store (in this case, the Chrome Web Store), and syncs certain settings (allowing the extension to access local file URLs and run in incognito/private mode; and it even syncs those settings for sideloaded extensions, but lacks any cloud upload function to automatically install those sideloaded extensions on any new systems you may sign in to).


Naver seems to have minimal interest in surveilling non-Korean users, it doesn't communicate with servers when you're visiting webpages (unless you opt to use the integrated Naver Papago translator), and, most importantly for American users, any data generated by an optional Naver account is kept offshore in Korea, and thus is harder for authorities to surveil.

Download Naver Whale.

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