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GOOGLE’S CHROME WEB browser is the world’s most popular way for people to navigate the web. But it’s far from perfect. Google’s dominance in online advertising means it slurps up plenty of your browsing data, which is used to show you the ads that it thinks you’ll be most likely to click on. This is Google’s business model and by using Chrome you’re agreeing to this data collection. But that doesn’t mean the company isn’t adding new privacy and security features to its product. You just need to know how to use them.


The next version of the Chrome browser, version 83, will include a bunch of updates that make it slightly easier to cleanse some of the data Google collects about you and reduce the chances of you getting hacked. Here’s what’s changing.

Real-Time Threat Checking

On the web, scammers act quickly. The coronavirus crisis has proven this: scammers and criminals have quickly re-tooled their online tricks to prey on people’s desperation and curiosity.

Chrome’s new Enhanced Safe Browsing mode will attempt to play catchup. If you turn the feature on the address of websites you’re visiting will be shared with Google in real-time and the company will compare it to its blocklist of unsafe sites. This builds on its existing Safe Browsing mode.

"Chrome checks the URL of each site you visit or file you download against a local list, which is updated approximately every 30 minutes," Google explains in a blog post about the new setting. "Increasingly, some sophisticated phishing sites slip through that 30-minute refresh window by switching domains very quickly."

If you’re signed in to a Google account while you’re using Chrome, the system will be able to pull data from other Google apps you use: such as Gmail or Google Drive. If there’s a suspicious link in a document you’re working on in Drive then the tool could inform Chrome when you click on it.


There is one big caveat to this update—Google will be processing more information about where you’re going on the web, faster. The company has said that when its Safe Browsing algorithm has figured out the website you’re visiting isn’t a threat it will anonymize and eventually delete the data when it is no longer being used. Google hasn’t put a time frame hasn’t been put on this deletion.