Antivirus giant Avast launches browser with built-in YouTube downloader

Avast Secure Browser

Not content with sitting in the background, quietly protecting your PC from online nasties, antivirus giant Avast wants to take responsibility for your whole online experience. To that end, it's launched a new web browser – and it has some unusual tricks up its sleeve.

Avast Secure Browser is based on Chromium and includes a raft of handy features – many of which have to be enabled manually in other browsers, or are only available as third-party plugins.

There's a bank mode for keeping your card details safe, protection against potentially malicious extensions, a password manager to keep your logins locked up in a secure vault and fill them in automatically, and a built-in adblocker.

Avast Secure Browser also includes a VPN. Following competitor McAfee's purchase of Tunnelbear earlier this year, this could be a sign of VPNs becoming more common in free security software.

Easy downloading

Most interestingly, Avast has decided to throw in a video downloader for grabbing clips from sites like YouTube and Vimeo. This doesn't have any security benefits, and downloading videos is usually against streaming sites' terms of service – not to mention the potential for copyright infringement. It's an unusual lure for an antivirus company to dangle in front of potential customers.

The downloader looks smart and is easy to use; it detects videos on a webpage and offers the opportunity to download them in low, medium or high quality. You can also rip the audio from a video – whether it's music or something you'd like to listen to later as a podcast.