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Mighty wants to stream a Chrome browser in the cloud to your PC, for a price

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WTF ?! Whenever we find our computers struggling to run apps, games, or some RAM hungry web browser, the usual solution is to upgrade to a more robust machine. A new startup called Mighty proposes a strange alternative: a web browser that lives on a powerful server in the cloud, for “only” $ 30 per month.

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re reading from a Chromium-based browser, be it Google Chrome or the new Microsoft Edge. These two browsers have a combined market share of more than 75 percent, with Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and others taking smaller portions of the remaining share.

Common browser users among us may have noticed that a lot of effort has gone into making significant improvements to browser performance; It’s actually been a never-ending cycle for the past two decades, from using fewer CPU cycles to reducing your appetite for RAM and suspending tabs that you’re not actively using. On mobile devices, browser developers have been offering data-saving features for some time now, to conserve valuable mobile data on limited plans and make the website loading experience faster.

We have heard about running full operating system instances or CPU intensive applications in the cloud and more recently cloud gaming in its various presentations has the ambitious goal of allowing you to play triple-A games without the need for much. local graphics power. . Now Powerful you want to do the same with the normal web browser.

For the past two years, Mighty has been working on a solution to cast a Chromium-based browser from a powerful cloud server to an application that takes up much less space on your computer than Chrome, especially after opening a few dozen. tabs. To that end, the company has forked Chromium to “directly integrate with various low-level encoder / render pipelines” and created a network protocol so that interactions with the new browser feel the same as using one. powerful workstation with a gigabit Internet connection.

Initially, Mighty wanted to stream Windows, but switched to streaming only the web browser once they realized that users spend most of their time there. Furthermore, that approach would have emulated services like Shadow, and Mighty founder Suhail Doshi believes doing both was unsustainable from a business point of view.

Suhail notes that “most people want an experience where the underlying operating system and the application (the browser) interoperate seamlessly rather than having to tame two desktop experiences,” and that’s also why Mighty is designed to integrate well with the operating system. At the time of writing, Mighty is only available for macOS, with no information on when it will be Windows or Linux’s turn.

Currently, a Mighty browser instance runs on 16 virtual CPUs on a server with dual Intel Xeon CPUs and Nvidia GPUs. Mighty’s argument is that you can always change in the future as your needs grow over time, without you having to upgrade your machine to take advantage of that extra power (for a browser?). The flip side, however, is that the Mighty costs $ 30 per month, so if you normally upgrade your machine every four years, that’s $ 1,440 you’ve spent elsewhere.

There are other warnings that will hit the skeptical eye immediately. For one thing, Mighty requires a 100Mbps internet connection to feel as nimble as promised, faster than any browser on a typical laptop or desktop. And while Mighty promises to encrypt your keystrokes and never sell your browsing data to third parties, it will be difficult to gain trust on that front in a world where big tech companies with deep pockets struggle to prevent data leaks and sometimes , they don’t even accept responsibility for them.

Lastly, the Mighty works by streaming 4K, 60fps video to your device, which is an incredible waste of bandwidth. Knowing all of this, it’s hard to recommend a cloud solution when alternatives like Cloudflare are out there. Browser isolation, which is actually designed with security in mind and works by sandboxing your browser session and sending only the final result of a browser’s web page rendering.

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