Google Chrome may still be a popular choice for browsing the web, but there are better options — especially if you value privacy and freedom. A new review has revealed that Google Chrome is shamelessly spying on its users — and collecting data on them to build profiles of their likes, interests and personalities. This “surveillance software” used to be the stuff of dystopian fiction nightmares but is now our unfortunate reality.
Geoffrey A. Fowler, a columnist for the Washington Post, took a deeper look at Google Chrome, and was shocked by what he found: It tracks everything — including your location, and even if you disable the feature. Now is the time to switch to a new web browser.
Chrome is watching you
If you’re using Chrome, every time you browse the web, ad and data companies are browsing with you. Whether you’re shopping or reading the news, web sites you visit on Chrome are discreetly tagging your browser and invading your privacy.
“Seen from the inside, its Chrome browser looks a lot like surveillance software,” Fowler states. Google, he contends, is the “biggest snoop of all.”
Google is the world’s largest advertiser. They also make the most popular web browser. As Fowler asserts, this was a bad idea. In his experiments, Fowler found that Google Chrome collects many thousands of tracker cookies that most other web browsers block.
Cookies are files that data and ad companies (like Google) use to track what websites you visit — and build a profile on your interests, income and personality. Even sites that you’d assume are private, like those of insurance and financial companies, are setting cookies for Facebook and Google on Google Chrome.
Every time Fowler pulled up the log-in page for the Federal Student Aid website or for his insurance company, Google knew about it.
If that sounds like Big Brother, it’s because it is.
To make matters worse, Google Chrome now automatically signs you into the browser every time you open Gmail — allowing Google to silently watch your web activity.
If you use Chrome on your phone, it also sends out your location every time you conduct a search. “If you turn off location sharing it still sends your coordinates out, just with less accuracy,” Fowler says.
Choosing a better browser
Google Chrome doesn’t just track users, it does so with gusto. This inconspicuous “surveillance software” allows Google to know more about its users than any company should — and target them.
Chrome came under fire last year for scanning the files on users’ computers — including personal photos.
In 2015, Google was also called out for installing audio snooping software on Chrome to record people’s private conversations.
Google has committed many crimes, ranging from censorship and knowledge suppression to election meddling and fraud. It is no small wonder so many people are looking for alternative web browsers.
Brave is one such option. Writing for The Verge, Vlad Savov contends that Brave is “the ideal Chrome alternative.”
“If your reasons for sticking with Chrome have been (a) extensions, (b) compatibility, (c) syncing across devices, or (d, unlikely) speed, Brave checks all of those boxes. What’s more, it’s just one of a growing number of really good options that aren’t made by Google,” Savov writes.
As Savov notes, he switched from Chrome to Brave because he was uncomfortable with Google knowing everything about him and his daily activities. Features that used to make Chrome unique, like the password-saving option, are now widely available on other browsers, including Brave.
Savov reports that Brave boasts ad- and tracker-blocking, high speeds and has mobile and desktop applications. Gab, a social media network, has also created their own web browser, Dissenter.
You can learn more about surveillance software and more at Glitch.news.