Orion
Frequently Asked Questions

What is Orion's goal?

We want Orion to be the best browser for Apple devices.



What is Orion's design philosophy?

Orion is fast, privacy-respecting and open to the web, standards and protocols. We want Orion to give the power users a browser they can count on.

At the same time, we made Orion accessible for your beloved grandma. We want Orion to be that one browser that you install for your grandma and the web would just work, on default settings. Enjoy the web grandma!



What is Orion based on?

Orion's rendering engine is WebKit and Orion shares much of the same technology used in Apple's Safari. This means Orion inherits all performance and privacy features that Apple (and other contributors) built into WebKit.



Why use Orion instead of Safari?

Let us first acknowledge all the efforts Apple put into making Safari great, truly one of the best browsers you could use on macOS. We are basing Orion on the same tech stack that Safari is using and then going above and beyond.

To begin with, there is very little Safari users can currently do to influence browser development and roadmap. With Orion, users are taken seriously and each user has a voice and a way to directly communicate with the team behind the product.

Safari features are great to begin with, but they also leave a lot to be desired. Whether a built-in ad-blocker or productivity enhancements, with Orion we are able to provide the users exactly what they need.

We share WebKit with Safari, meaning we share a lot of benefits like performance, memory usage and power efficiency. We have been able to do further optimizations on top of that to make Orion feel even faster. Usually first thing that users notice about Orion is how fast it is.

Orion is fast

Orion is a truly zero telemetry browser and also comes with a built-in content blocker, meaning it has the highest possible protection for user's privacy on the web, by default. Whether in Safari or any other browser, you will not find stronger guarantees for privacy in a browser than what comes in Orion.

And finally, extensions! Orion has native support for Chrome/Firefox extensions, the largest browser extensions ecosystem in the world. With Orion you will be able to literally one-click install your favorite extensions, without their developers needing to change anything. This makes for a huge difference in what you can do on the web compared to Safari.



Why use Orion instead of Chrome, Firefox or other browsers based on Chromium/Firefox?

Orion has superior performance, memory use and battery efficiency compared to any non-WebKit browser.

Orion is also the first browser to have zero telemetry policy, meaning it does not "phone home" and data. It also comes with a native blocker that blocks ads and trackers by default, ensuring websites are respecting the privacy of the Orion user.

Orion is, like Safari, built as a native Mac app. It uses native macOS components to ensure speed, familiar look & feel of a Mac app and deep integration with native system technologies.

Finally, Orion takes its users very seriously. We do not have any other data or telemetry, only what the users tell us. We are all ears and we are doing this together. Zero telemetry, powered by users!



How fast is Orion?

Orion is as fast or faster than Safari, because both use the same underlying rendering engine - WebKit.

Orion is much faster than browsers using non-WebKit browser rendering engines like Firefox, Chrome and Chrome clones (Edge, Brave, Opera...).
Orion is
                        faster On top of this, thanks to the native adblocker Orion is simply unrivaled in speed when browsing the web.

Orion is perfect
We also made a number of tweaks to make Orion feel faster and more responsive than Safari on slower machines.



How much memory does Orion use?

We take great pride in the fact that Orion has the best memory management (measured as memory released after closing tabs). On default settings, Orion will consume only 30-50% RAM of other mainstream browsers after closing tabs.

Orion low memory
            use



How does Orion respect my privacy?

Orion does not ‘phone home’ - that is, Orion does not have any built-in telemetry running by default. Zero. None. We rely on our community of users to tell us what we are doing good and what we can do better. Automatic updates and crash reports are opt-in. And we do not have any ads to serve you. Orion is truly and verifiably a privacy-respecting browser. This is practically unheard of in the modern browser world.

Major browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Brave...) periodically send requests "home", usually for benign reasons. For example to check for updates, A/B test configurations or in case of Brave to serve ads. But all these requests are still a potential privacy issue as no matter what information is being sent, with each request sent "home" they will get your IP address (and thus potentially your location) and can also fingerprint your browser. Depending on their business model and terms you accepted, this could be used in a way you would not expect.

Most modern browsers are sending not one, but hundreds such requests "home", transferring megabytes of data, usually without the user even knowing (you may have sometimes noticed slow browser start times because of this). Even if the browser code is open source, the code that listens and receives this data on company's servers isn't, so you have no way of knowing what is done with your data. Some browser companies openly admit to profiling their users, some deny it, but the only way you can be sure that your privacy is truly respected is if the browser sends exactly zero requests home. Zero requests - zero worries - full privacy guaranteed.

Orion
            zero phone home policy

Use Orion and welcome to the world with no browser telemetry.



How does Orion protect my privacy on the web?

Orion comes with state-of-the-art native ad and tracker blocker that blocks first-party and third-party scripts and requests by default. Most browsers do not block any content by default. Some come with tracker blocking.

Orion uncompromisingly blocks all trackers by default.

To do this we combine WebKit's Intelligent Tracking Protection and "Easy Privacy" list (using content blocking).

Ad blocking has become so popular, yet 99% of browsers do not block ads by default. We not only can not ignore that, we want to be right in the middle of it!

Orion uncompromisingly blocks all ads by default.

To do this we are using WebKit's native content blocking functionality (to ensure maximum speed and minimum impact to page rendering latency) and an optimized content blocking database. Orion's native ad-blocking successfully blocks 99.99% of all ads, including YouTube ads, both on desktop and mobile.



How does Orion support Web Extensions?

Early in development we made a (faithful) decision to natively support the Web Extensions API. This is the same API shared by browsers like Chrome and Firefox and what makes their extension eco-system so powerful. We believe that users who want to use WebKit on macOS should also be able to tap into this same eco-system. So we decided to build it, painstakingly porting hundreds of APIs that were never meant to work with WebKit, one by one. Took us a few years but here we are!

At this time Orion supports about 70% of Web Extensions APIs and we are adding more with each day.

On top of that, we built advanced security features that allow you to control what each extension can do, giving the user control that goes beyond what Chrome and Firefox offer. For example, you can allow the web extension to run only on certain websites.



Wait, are you saying I can run uBlock Origin and other Chrome/Firefox extensions in Orion?!

Yes! Crying when you experience this for the first time is optional.

Orion Extensions



Should I use Chrome or Firefox version of the extension in Orion?

Orion supports both Chrome and Firefox extensions. Usually they are very similar, but sometimes the developer might have put extra effort in one of the versions, for example because they prefer one browser over the other.

So we suggest trying both and using the one that works better for you. Orion is the only browser that gives you that choice!



Does Orion have unique features?

Yes! This is one of the reasons we started building it in the first place. There are so many untapped opportunities for innovation in modern browsers. We are very excited to have a platform to build upon now. Here are just a few examples of what we already included.

Focus Mode allows the user to completely remove toolbars. Browse the web distraction-free!

Orion's Low Power Mode is similar to native iOS feature on phones and extends battery life on your laptop by reducing browser's power consumption up to 90%.

Orion features native Vertical Tabs if you prefer your tabs this way.

And there is much more...



Why is no search engine set by default in Orion?

As a browser committed to respecting your privacy, we decided not to set any search engine by default. Otherwise, the moment you start typing in location bar, we would have to leak your IP address and browser fingerprint to the search engine to get suggestions.

Instead, Orion will ask you to set your favorite search engine on your first use of location bar.



Can I transfer my Safari passwords to Orion?

We are working on this, you can expect to see this feature soon.



Is there an iOS version?

Yes!



Will Orion for iOS also support web extensions?

Yes, we have preliminary support for some web extensions.



Is Orion open-source?

Not yet, but we plan to when we are ready to receive the benefits of open-sourcing Orion. Creating something as big and ambitious as Orion (which includes forking WebKit, porting entire WebExtensions API and writing browser from scratch) is challenging enough for a small team like ours. We can not afford any other overhead - and properly maintaining an open source project takes time and resources. If you want to contribute, the best way to do that is to become a beta tester.



How can I trust my private information with Orion if it is not open-source?

"Open-source is trustworthy" is a common misconception when your private information is in question. For example, right now there is a major tech company, whose browser is open-source, and it has created the largest ad/tracking network in the history. Another major tech company, whose browser is closed-source, is on the forefront of the privacy-aware practices and technologies in its products. Meaning that in practice there is no correlation between product being open-source and it respecting your privacy (if not that this correlation is actually inverse).

If you want to be safe, you have to ask yourself:
  1. Does this browser collect data?
  2. How does it make money?
Even if the browser is fully open source, what is done with your data on their servers (the part that really matters) is closed-source. For example, most modern browsers (excluding Orion) send hundreds of requests 'home'. Each of those requests contain private information like IP address and your browser fingerprint.

The only way to truly know that the browser is protecting your private information, is if the browser sends zero unwanted requests anywhere. This can be verified by firing up a network proxy (Charles is a good choice on macOS) and checking if your browser is sending information anywhere. In the case of Orion, there will be nothing unexpected in your network traffic log because Orion is truly a zero telemetry browser.

Business model is the second thing you should be thinking about when trust is in question. Companies producing most popular free, open-source browsers also 'magically' make billions dollars in revenue, so that revenue must be coming from somewhere. Understanding browser's role in that chain of revenue will help you understand if a browser can really be trusted.

With Orion, you have a browser that is (verifiably!) respecting your privacy, protects your privacy on the web by default and has a business model that aligns our interest with yours.



How will Orion make money?

We will either make Orion paid (remember how we used to pay for software products, even beta versions of anticipated products ) ; or Orion will be free offering paid version with advanced features; or Orion will be free but a part of another premium product that we are making.

In any case, one thing is clear: All funding for Orion will come from its own success as a product. We are not building Orion to be just another browser for Mac, we are building it to be THE browser for Mac. The one every power user would want to use. And the one that you install for your grandma because the web will just work.

We have no interest in making a popular browser and monetizing it with ads/tracking/data. That is not why we started this project for, nor is something we would ever consider falling back to. The purpose of Orion is to be a product you will love and appreciate for its craftsmanship and attention to detail. If Orion can not deliver on that promise or sustain its own development for what ever insurmountable reason, it will be the end of it.



What does "Orion is open to web, standards and protocols" mean?

We are thinking about the web browser as being your 'user agent'. Therefore, browser's job is to make the web accessible to you and it should be as unobtrusive and as resourceful as possible in the process. The focus is always on the user and their needs, not the browser itself.

For example, WebExtensions API has evolved to be the de facto standard for creating browser extensions. We do not want to invent a proprietary standard for extensions and therefore Orion supports the most popular implementation used on the web today.

Web is also a collection of different protocols, not just 'http' and 'https'. We want to support as many as we can, including FTP which is being phased out in many browsers or the new Gemini protocol.

Simply put, we believe that the browser should remove all the obstacles for the user in accessing the web in any way that works the best for them.



About

Orion is being built by Kagi. Kagi's founder is Vladimir Prelovac, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and tech-industry veteran. Kagi was founded in 2019 with $4M in seed funding.

Kagi is also building an ad-free search engine, currently in private beta.



© 2021 Kagi - Better Web for our Children. All Rights Reserved. WebKit and the WebKit logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.