If you’re an especially privacy-conscious person, you’ve likely already switched away from Google Chrome in favor of another browser. There are some steps you can take to minimize tracking from websites you visit and from other users on your computer.
Chrome Incognito Mode – “Private” Browsing
Chrome’s version of “private browsing mode” is called Incognito Mode. While this alone won’t let you browse privately, it will at least disconnect your incognito session activity from your normal browsing behavior. Incognito mode works to hide your browsing history and information like passwords from other users on your computer.
Read More: Chrome’s Incognito Mode Isn’t Private, So What’s The Point?
Change Your Search Engine to a Private Option
- Open Chrome
- At the top right, click More Settings.
- Under “Search engine,” click Manage search engines.
- Find “Other search engines.”
- Add: To the right of “Other search engines,” click Add. Fill out the text fields and click Add.
- Set as default: To the right of the search engine, click More Make default.
Read More: Why Using a Private Search Engine Actually Matters
How To Clear Your Browsing History
- On your computer, open Chrome.
- At the top right, click More .
- Click History History.
- On the left, click Clear browsing data. A box will appear.
- From the drop-down menu, select how much history you want to delete. To clear everything, select All time.
- Check the boxes for the info you want Chrome to clear, including “browsing history.”
- Click Clear data.
Google’s Security Checkup shows you a list of devices where you’re logged into Google, any recent security issues, sign-in attempts, and any third-party access to your account. Security Checkup is a service that helps users make sure their Google accounts are safe by checking those items that could impact your account security.
Older versions of Security Checkup would provide the same checklist for every user regardless of which security settings they had enabled. Now, your security checkup will make recommendations based on the settings your account has enabled and which you should change for added security.
Privacy Checkup lets you “review and adjust what data Google uses to personalize your experience, and update what information you share with friends or make public.” The more information you share with Google, the more personalized your browsing will be. However, this also lets Google target you very specifically with ads. To get the most private browsing possible, limit all of the information you share with Chrome.
Clear “My Activity”
My Activity contains tons of information about your use of Google products and other browsing information. It includes ads you’ve interacted with, sites you’ve visited, devices you’ve used, videos you’ve watched on YouTube and your location history.
How To Clear “My Activity” in Google
- To view your Google account history visit myactivity.google.com.
- You can delete your information by day or delete specific results. To delete your activity, click the three-dots on the right of each group or item. Then click “Delete”.
To delete your entire Google account history, click on the three-dots at the top right corner of the My Activity site and choose “Delete activity by”. Then click “All time” and your activity will disappear.
Clearing this data will tell Google to not use that data as part of the profile it creates about you. Google uses this information to determine which ads you see based on what you’re most likely to click on.
Disable or Encrypt Data Syncing
Chrome automatically syncs data from your browser to your Google account by default. While this provides convenience by letting you access your bookmarks, and passwords on other devices you own, it also creates concerns for anyone concerned about their privacy.
To view and change these sync options, click Menu > Settings.
If you don’t want Chrome to sync any data, click “Disconnect your Google Account” under Sign In. You’ll be able to use Chrome without associating a Google account with your browsing. Source: Howtogeek.com
With default settings, Chrome will sync your installed apps, extensions, themes, browser settings, autofill entries, browsing history, bookmarks, saved passwords, open tabs, and saved credit cards by default. However, you can choose which items you’d like to sync if you want to some information to transfer between your devices.
Disable Location Tracking
If a website can see your IP address, it can usually determine your approximate location. However, with Chrome’s location tracking they can get your exact location. You may notice when you visit certain websites Chrome may prompt you to use your location. In most cases you don’t need this feature enabled, and most websites work normally without using your location data.
Add Privacy-focused Browser Extensions
HTTPS Everywhere: HTTPS Everywhere makes it easy to browse the web with more security. If a website supports HTTPS, the extension automatically redirects the site to its secure, HTTPS version.
Click&Clean: Click&Clean makes it simple and easy to delete data about your internet use. It lets you delete typed URLs, browser cache, cookies, browsing history and more with a single click.
Avast Online Security: Avast is a well-known player in the internet privacy and security space – providing anti-virus and other security software. Along with privacy protection, this extension lets you rate websites depending on your experience, for other users to use as a basis for their own security.
Read More: Chrome Extensions That Privacy Experts Can’t Live Without
Conclusion: Chrome Can Be More Private, But Other Browsers Are Better
Google Chrome is a very popular browser, making up over 63 percent of the global browser market. Although the browser is free, one of the costs of using it is sharing all of your browsing data with Google. These steps can help keep you more private, but other browsers are much better for privacy.