Personal data is shared between Google Chrome and Google Server. This is a default setting and can be set to your liking, so that you can browse Chrome with ease and lose privacy in the process. Here we will show what each feature sends to Google – the complete information of the hows and whys. However, disabling many of the options may leave you without some features on Google Chrome – as each option has some advantage to them. It is still better to make knowledgeable decisions, if you want to reduce the amount of data sent to Google.

Go to the wrench menu on the top right corner of Google Chrome and select Options to check the page for options on Chrome. Google search and Chrome instant search work the same way and when you begin to type in Chrome’s address bar a whole page emerges with search results. All that you type is sent to Google. So if the Chrome instant search is enabled then you need to uncheck the Enable Instant Check Box on the Basics tab. Usually Instant Search is disabled, but it is better to make sure and check just in case.

Do Not Let it Sync

Chrome synchronizes all the extensions, passwords and any bookmarks, among other browsing data, between different computers that you may use. This is done by loading the data on Google’s servers. If that is something you do not want (that is having all your data stored at the back end) then you can click the Disconnect icon on the Personal Stuff tab to entirely disable Chrome from syncing your data among computers. Another option is to have it encoded, so that your personal data can be stored in servers in unreadable format. By checking the Advanced icon in the Sign In area, select “Encrypt all synced data” to activated the encryption. This way all your browsing data is synced, but is no longer in danger of being “read”. By choosing your own passphrase, you will make sure that Google would not be then able to read your data; but you will need this passphrase to be able to synchronize each computer with Chrome.

The Private Affair

There are five different privacy options in the privacy section on the Under the Hood tab.

If you do not want Chrome to inform Google of addresses to sites that would not load then you need to uncheck the Navigation Errors checkbox. If you do not do so, then, Google sends website and search suggestions in response to Chrome sending in information about website’s that would not connect. Chrome then shows these suggestions of an error page.

By default all that you type in the address box is sent to the default search engine. In so doing, Google is able to send you addresses to similar websites in the menu that drops down below the address bar as predictions. If you uncheck the Prediction Service, Chrome would then not send everything that you type to Google.

Predict Network Actions controls Chrome’s automatic search of IP addresses of websites that are linked to the page you are on. It can load a new webpage in the background if your current website instructs it to. Google’s safe browsing feature also has Chrome download a listing of websites possible to be dangerous, without prompt. If you visit a potentially hazardous website, Chrome sends the site address, your IP address and your cookies to Google, albeit in a concealed format. Google then instructs Chrome whether the website is indeed dangerous or not. If you uncheck the “Enable phishing and malware protection” then Chrome will cease to give any warning the next time you visit these dangerous websites.

Often advertisers follow your online movements and send you advertisements. This is done through cookies. Chrome can be stopped from allowing third party cookies from tracking you if you enable the “Block third-party cookies” in the Content Settings icon under the Privacy section. However, for some sites to work properly you may need to disable it at a later time.

This is the only option that is disabled by default and instigates Chrome to forward information about general browser information – such as preferences, crashes and so on – to Google. It never sends complete addresses of each and every website (to Google) except for potentially malicious sites (when the option is enabled).

If you do not want to disable the cookies completely then there is another option whereby cookies are deleted when you close Chrome. With this option sites dependent of cookies still work and you would not be tracked through your cookies in return. However, you will have to log in into all your accounts after you open Chrome up again. But that is a small price to pay in the bigger scheme of things. To do all this, simply select the “Allow local data to be set for the current session only” option and your cookies would be as good as gone when Chrome is shut.

Your current location can be shared among sites through Allow All Sites on the Location section (in the Content Settings pane). This feature in Chrome allows for sites to offer weather updates and directions, however, you are asked before Chrome shares your location by default. Setting your option to Do Not Allow, you can inactivate the location sharing feature completely.

No matter if you have disabled some or all of the features mentioned here, the most important thing is that you now have control of your privacy options on Chrome. It is extremely useful to be informed about what you want to show and what you want to withhold from Google and even other sites. Being tracked or having your information shared and stored can make you feel quite uncomfortable, and rightly so. You can make the choice by following these simple steps to be able to have greater control of your privacy on Chrome. Knowledge is power. Make good use of it.

References:

  1. https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/114836?hl=en
  2. https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/privacy/whitepaper.html

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