Google Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world by a long shot. Not only is Chrome fast and highly customizable, it’s also tracking you as you surf the internet.
Of course, Chrome isn’t the only browser or web service that tracks you. Many of them do. The good thing is that Chrome allows you to easily put in a request to disable tracking.
Google Chrome is spying on you: Here’s what it sees
The main way Google Chrome spies on you is by “cookie tracking.”
When you use the web, you send data about your activity and location back to Google and other sites. Aside from cookies, Chrome tracks you through a number of identifiers. These include:
- IP address
- Log-in information
- Browser user agents and more
The good news is that Google Chrome has a “Do Not Track” setting that lets you request that they stop monitoring your every move online.
However, Google’s attitude about tracking your browser data is not as transparent as it might appear on the surface.
Here’s what Google says on its Chrome settings page about how websites respond to a request to stop tracking:
“Most websites and web services, including Google’s, don’t change their behavior when they receive a Do Not Track request. Chrome doesn’t provide details of which websites and web services respect Do Not Track requests and how websites interpret them.”
Internet Explorer has similar language on its site. Still, “Do Not Track” is a request you should make if you want to increase your level of privacy. It’s turned off by default. Here’s how to turn it on:
How to request that Google Chrome stop tracking you
On your computer
|1. Open Chrome||1. Open the Chrome app|
|2. At the top right, More Settings||2. To the right of the address bar, tap More Settings|
|3. At bottom, click Advanced||3. Under “Advanced,” tap Privacy.|
|4. Under “Privacy and security,” turn Send a “Do Not Track” request with your browsing traffic on.
||4. Tap Do Not Track and turn it ON.|
If you’re wondering where the instructions are for iPhone and iPad, there aren’t any. Google says “Do Not Track” isn’t available for those Apple devices at this time.
If you’re looking for browsers that are a little less invasive, there are alternatives.
Here are 4 Google Chrome alternatives
- Mozilla Firefox: This popular browser uses “Enhanced tracking protection” which blocks cookies from “cross-site tracking,” i. e. following you around the web. Download Mozilla Firefox here.
- Safari: The default web browser of the iPhone and iPad, Safari is considered the best browser when it comes to usability and functionality. It has cool features like Reader View, which removes the ads, and iCloud tab browsing. Download Safari here.
- Internet Explorer: This web browser comes standard on all Windows operating systems. It is known for its reliability and compatibility. Download Internet Explorer here or switch to the faster Microsoft Edge.
- Opera: While not as popular as the other browsers mentioned, Opera has a number of exclusive features like the ability to stack tabs and create your own keyboard shortcuts. Download Opera here.
After you’ve sent a request for Chrome not to track your activity, you might be interested in wiping your web activity from the browser. Here’s how to do that:
How to delete your web activity on Google Chrome
By clicking the “Choose to delete automatically” button, you’ll have the option to have your web activity deleted every three months or 18 months.