Firefox, Safari, Brave, even Microsoft Edge have all taken steps over the last year to protect you from trackers that gather your browsing history. Chrome is not quite there yet, but it will be later this year: Google recently said it will soon start doing a better job of guarding your privacy through its Chrome browser.
Here’s how to protect your privacy using a few Chrome extensions.
How to add and manage extensions to Chrome
Step 1. Head to the Chrome Web Store, and click Extensions over on the left.
Step 2. Using the search box in the top-left corner, enter the name of the extension you are looking for. We list three Chrome extensions below that you can start with.
Step 3. In the search results, locate the extension you want and click Add to Chrome.
Step 4. A dialog will pop up, displaying which permissions the extension will have for your browser. If you approve, click Add extension.
Step 5. To manage the extension, in Chrome, click the More menu on the right (it’s the one with the three vertical dots) and then select More Tools and then Extensions.
Step 6. On the Extensions page, you can turn on or off an extension, remove it or click Details to see more about the extension and what permissions it has.
Chrome privacy extensions starter kit
Until Google adds tools that let give you more control over what you share — and don’t share with websites — these privacy-minded extensions can help you manage what information websites gather about you on the web.
Cookie AutoDelete (Chrome extension). This extension will auto-delete unused cookies from your closed tabs and let you hold on to ones you want by whitelisting them. After you install, the extension won’t delete cookies. You need to enable Auto-clean first, which gives you a chance to whitelist the cookies you want to keep to, say, keep your progress in a game.
uBlock Origin (Chrome extension). Using a collection of third-party and in-house filter lists, uBlock Origin is a broad-spectrum tracker blocker that won’t hog system resources. The extension gives you quite a bit of control over what you block. You can leave the extension in easy mode — which has a light touch on blocking so as to not break websites — or select Medium, Hard or Nightmare mode, which range from a reasonable approach to thwarting trackers to blocking everything — and making the web all but unusable
Privacy Badger (Chrome extension). Privacy Badger from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF, watches for third-party trackers that monitor your browsing across websites and blocks their ability to track your activity without your permission. Privacy Badger works much like the uBlock Origin but is intended to be simpler to use, giving you simple sliders to control how much or little you want to block. And if the extension is breaking a page, you can click the disable button to turn it off for the site.
Note, you may need to tweak the extension settings if you find that some of your favorite sites behave strangely after you turn them on.