A new Google-funded study of browser security by security research firm Accuvant Labs crowned Chrome the champion of security features, and ranked Firefox below Internet Explorer in terms of protection available from web-borne threats. Predictably, Microsoft and Mozilla have different opinions on what makes a browser secure, and why Accuvant's findings are off base. All of this got us thinking about which browser is the most secure, and whether the security features listed in studies like this even matter to the rest of us. More »
If you’ve used Chrome on more than one device, you’ve probably noticed that Chrome just isn’t the same when you’re not on your main computer. You don’t have all your bookmarks, apps, and extensions. Your settings aren’t quite right, you have to retype all your saved passwords, and your omnibox doesn’t know which sites you visit often.
Today’s Beta release fixes all that. Signing in to Chrome enables sync and brings your Chrome bookmarks and other personalized settings to all of your computers. Anything you update on one device instantly updates everywhere else, and your stuff is safe in case a truck runs over your laptop. Just go to the Wrench menu and select “Sign in to Chrome.”
But what if you share a computer with family or friends? You may not want your bookmarks and settings mixing with your brother’s or your roommate’s bookmarks and settings, and you wouldn’t want their Chrome stuff syncing to your other devices.
In today’s Beta release, we’ve added a new feature that lets people who use a shared computer each have their own personalized Chrome, and lets them each sign in to Chrome to sync their stuff.
To try it out, go to Options (Preferences on Mac), click Personal Stuff, and click "Add new user." A fresh instance of Chrome will open, ready to be customized with its own set of apps, bookmarks, extensions, and other settings. A badge in the upper corner lets you know at a glance that this new Chrome browser belongs to you, and you can customize the name and badge as you like. Clicking this badge drops down a menu of all the users on that computer, so you can easily switch between them. In addition, each user can sign in to Chrome to access their own personalized Chrome across all their computers.
One thing to keep in mind is that this feature isn’t intended to secure your data against other people using your computer, since all it takes is a couple of clicks to switch between users. We want to provide this functionality as a quick and simple user interface convenience for people who are already sharing Chrome on the same computer today. To truly protect your data from being seen by others, please use the built-in user accounts in your operating system of choice.
I’m a Google and Chrome fan because of their tools and the simplicity and performance they adhere to—apart from search this is exactly what the company and it’s engineers have excelled at and has for many years. However untangling the browsers privacy issues to give you more personal freedom is a different art all together.
Google’s browser Chrome is lightweight, responsive and performs fantastically even when browsing many tabs at once. We can thank the Chromium Open Source project for giving users more stable, faster and safer web experiences.
One should realize that maybe Google Chrome’s policy is not good at all when you realize:
- If you use Google Chrome, Google will know every URL you type into the location bar.
- Google will know (almost) every partial URL you type into the location bar.
- Moreover, they will know every word or phrase you type into the location bar, even if you type it and then delete it before pressing enter.
- They will also know every word or phrase you type into the location bar, even if you type it and then delete it before pressing enter.
- All this information can be linked with your main Google account, because Google sends your cookie along with every automatic search it performs from the location bar.
If you are at all doubtful that they actually do this then try downloading fiddlr (A web debugging proxy), and shows that for nearly every character you type, Chrome sends a request back to Google.
At least they give you options to disable their data collection services, the only problem is most of your average users don’t understand what’s really going on “under the hood.” It’s wise to get an understanding about how they collect data and then try to tweak it for better privacy results. Anonymity matters to me for these simple reasons, and I think they should matter to you as well:
- Prevent people from watching and learning what sites I visit and my physical location.
- Protect your communications from irresponsible corporations.
- Protect your privacy from unscrupulous marketers and identity thieves.
How can I tweak my privacy so that Google and third parties don’t receive all my data?
- First get to grips with how Google uses your data which they say is just standard log information collected and used to further help improve the user’s experience. Fair enough, however, each Google Chrome installation contains a unique ID that identifies its user, and for the average user it’s tough to remove that ID. So the first task is to do this. You can easily achieve your goal by using UnChrome to anonymize yourself.
- Cookies. Are they safe? This is an endless debate, but the fact remains that near to all websites use them to track and remember you so turning them off could lead to unexpected results when browsing with cookies on.
After you click on the little wrench on the top-right side of the browser, goto options > under the hood > content settings and check “Ignore exceptions and block third=party cookies from being sent. This will help you block those third party vendors from tracking you.
- If you have read this article you should know that this is where Chrome learns the most about you, by logging your data. They even say that they use only 2% of the data they receive, along with the IP addresses of it’s users in Chrome. To disable these features goto little wrench on the top-right side of your browser, goto options > under the hood and disable these features:
- Google uses the omnibox (search address bar) to help you search faster—no other browser has this feature and at first glance it’s really cool. Goto the little wrench on your browser > options > basics and disable Instant for faster searching and browsing.
- Concurrently you may also disable the Chrome Auto-fill options and never save passwords, or prompt the user if you’d like to save your password for a particular site. You may also set your default search engine to Bing or Yahoo, but know that if you do this then they will receive your data (whatever’s left of it after you have tweaked) instead of Google.
If you're a social networking butterfly, or if you have the malevolent aspirations of one day becoming a 'social media expert,' you almost certainly spend a vast amount of time surfing the Web. You probably use a modern browser like Firefox or Chrome, and you almost certainly have a ton of tabs open at the same time.
It can be hard work, keeping track of multiple websites. Hitting F5 is a pain in the ass -- and waiting those few seconds for a page to reload can be mighty frustrating. Then there's the matter of remembering all of your login names and passwords (because you don't use the same password on more than one site, right?)
Wouldn't it be great if there were some add-ons and extensions that could make light work of your surprisingly busy social networking lifestyle? Even if you only use Facebook or Twitter, there are still plenty of annoyances that could be offloaded to add-ons.
It might only be a couple of years old and its extension interface might not be quite as powerful as Firefox's, but in terms of developers, big-name publishers, and sheer numbers, Chrome already has a very healthy ecosystem of add-ons.
When you factor in Chrome's exclusive selection of Web apps, it's even possible to say that Chrome has a wider variety of extensions -- or at least until Mozilla launches its Open Web Apps later in the year.
Still, as always, the problem with add-ons is finding the right ones. You have thousands of add-ons to choose from, and only a handful that are actually worth using. First-time users haven't got a snowball's chance -- unless they read this list of must-have extensions!
But this list of extensions is for converts, too. With massive defections from Internet Explorer and Firefox, Chrome has grown from just a few million users in 2009 to over 120 million at the start of 2011. Firefox users will be especially pleased to find almost every add-on has a comparable extension -- and IE users... well, they'll just be glad to have any extensions at all.
Whether you are looking for helpers or shortcuts, or full-blown Web apps, you will be pleasantly surprised with the variety and power of Chrome's extensions.
2010 has been one heck of a year for software development. We've seen scores of great new apps released and major updates for many of our favorites. "Release early, iterate often" has become the norm -- with alpha and beta downloads coming at us fast and 0.1 becoming the new 1.0.
The speed of change with some apps has been mind-boggling at times. Can you believe that Google Chrome's stable channel began this year at version 3? Let's take a look at some of our favorite apps which released major updates or debuted in 2010!
Today, the change has landed in Chromium and will no doubt be pushed to Canary shortly. Now called about:flags, the page sports the trefoil (internationally recognized as a warning against radiation) and a bigger, scarier warning. "Please proceed with caution," the intro concludes.
In addition to the name change and new cautionary text, a command line switch has been added to allow users to launch Chrome with all previously-enabled experimental features disabled: --no-experiments. Should you happen to encounter problems browsing after enabling a feature or two, simply add the switch to your launch command and you're back to the stock set of Chrome features.
Bleeding-edge Chrome users -- especially those using Macs -- have at least one very good reason to like Chrome's recently-added about:labs page. First and foremost, it provides an easier way to enable and disable features that were previously buried behind command line switches.
In a posting on the Chromium-dev board, Google's Ben Goodger has some encouraging news for about:labs fans. Goodger wants Chrome developers to get their experimental features added to Labs, so expect to see plenty of future additions as Googlers tinker.
At the same time, Goodger wants to make it more clear that Labs features are experiments -- meaning users could very well mix the "chemicals" improperly and have Chrome blow up in their faces. That's certainly the case with Chrome's accelerated 2D canvas switch in the current Dev channel build.
As such, there's a re-name coming so that the page sounds a bit less friendly. Perhaps about:danger? about:itsatrap? Maybe they should also change the background color to red or slap a sign on the page...
For Linux users who have been using the dev build of Google Chrome, you can now head over to the “about:labs” page and enjoy some Labs feature.
The “about:labs” page has been around for the Linux build for quite some time, but unlike the Windows version, nothing was available. In the latest update of Google Chrome, the “about:labs” now comes with several features like Tabbed Settings, Remoting, Page Info Bubble, Disable outdated plug-ins, XSS Auditor and Background WebApps.
Here’s a short breakdown of what each feature does:
Instead of a new window, the Chrome Settings is now opened in a new tab.
Allows Remoting Client support.
Page Info Bubble
The page info is now shown as an info bubble instead of a dialog window.
Disable outdated plug-ins
As its name implies, disable outdated plugins to reduce security vulnerability
Enables WebKit’s XSS Auditor (cross-site scripting protection). This feature aims to protect you from certain attacks of malicious web sites. It improves your security, but it might not be compatible with all web sites.
Run installed web apps in the background at system startup and even after all windows are closed.
Activating about:labs features
1. Ensure that you are using a dev build of Google Chrome (you can get the deb file here)
2. Open a new tab and type “about:labs” (without the quotes) in the URL bar.
3. Choose the feature you want and click the “Enable” link.
4. Restart Google Chrome
Firefox Friday Five: 4.0 news round-up, 2 billion add-on downloads, Thunderbird 3.1, and making text editing on websites easier
[via Google Chrome Blog]
Whether you're catching up on your favorite Arabic gameshow, getting up to speed on the latest Korean mobile gadgetry, or researching the local perspective for a dream trip to Machu Picchu, we're all constantly reminded that the internet is an amazingly multilingual place. The Google Chrome team is excited to introduce a new beta feature to help our users navigate the multilingual web: instant machine translation of webpages, without the need for any browser extensions or plug-ins.
How does it work? When the language of the webpage you're viewing is different from your preferred language setting, Chrome will display a prompt asking if you'd like the page to be translated for you using Google Translate.
Here's a demo of the translation feature by Jay Civelli, one of the engineers who developed it:
For more on how automatic translation in Chrome works, read on in our Help Center article. We hope that the development of online translation tools like this one will help make all the world's information universally accessible in an easy, frictionless way – imagine reading a diversity of foreign language news sources in your mother tongue, or easily conducting online commerce across borders and languages.
With today's beta release, we're also excited to introduce new features that will give you even greater choice and control over your privacy as you browse the web. We realize that many users have questions about privacy in browsers, so we've produced a short video to help users better understand privacy in the browser: