Check your privacy settings in Chrome

Google Chrome is a beautiful, sleek and fast browser. But of course its creator is not a charity. And so it pays to take a critical look at the privacy settings in Chrome.

Google has released a very popular piece of software with its browser Chrome. That popularity is obviously good news for the search engine giant, as it means they can potentially rake in a lot more user data. And that data is worth gold today. If you prefer not to have Google watch all your web adventures, then it is important to keep a number of things in mind.

First, don't link your Google account to the browser. That makes you a lot more anonymous surfing the net. It means that you have to miss a very small piece of convenience regarding, for example, synchronizing favorites between Chrome on different computers, but is that really a problem? Anyway, when you first install the browser, don't link the Google account - if you already have one - to Chrome when prompted. If you have ever linked the account, click the button with the three vertically placed dots at the top right of the browser window. In the opened menu click on Institutions and then click the link Log out at the top. If you have multiple user profiles in use, you can disconnect (or log out) all of them from (at) Google, not a bad idea to do that.

More privacy-sensitive matters

In Institutions can be found more regarding privacy, unfortunately hidden under the heading Advanced (at the very bottom of the page); then click here. You will be the first to see the category Privacy and Security to show up; as far as we are concerned, this should certainly not have fallen under Advanced. The following are the things that you can turn off without a doubt as far as we are concerned:

- Automatically send certain system information and page content to Google to help detect dangerous apps and sites (if only because it is not clear what 'certain system information' exactly means).

- Automatically send usage statistics and crash reports to Google

Depending on your objections and limitations, it is also worth considering the option Using a prediction service to load pages faster to turn off. If this is turned on, Chrome will start loading pages in the background where it is suspected that you will click on the links in the page in front of you. On the one hand this is a nice extra, on the other hand it hardly adds anything to a fast broadband connection. And - much worse - it only costs extra traffic for connections with a data limit (think of mobile internet). So a shame. Also check the settings below Content settings and AutoFill Settings. The descriptions there speak for themselves. Pay extra attention to things like webcam and microphone use. It is best to ask for permission in advance for use.

background apps

One last tip - after all, we are in Settings - is to go under the heading System the option Background apps continue to run when Google Chrome is closed to turn off. It prevents a Chrome app from continuing to load your system (and possibly doing sneaky things) unnecessarily after you close Chrome. Moreover, it provides clarity: apps only run within Chrome and never outside of it.

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