Google has made all our lives easier. Anytime you have a question, you can ask Google. Want to email a friend? Log into your Gmail account. Want to browse the web and do a little shopping? Open up Chrome. Thanks to Google, everything is simple and easy.
Other companies, for example, Facebook, often face the most scrutiny when it comes to privacy questions. But it’s really Google you should be looking at. Of course, it may be difficult for you to leave Google’s ecosystem altogether as it crept into all parts of our lives. But there are enough reasons you should at least consider ditching Chrome.
What’s So Bad About Chrome?
Tech experts have done your homework for you. Looking under the easy-to-use interface, they’ve found all kinds of disturbing things about Chrome.
Imagine if every store, business, and government office sent somebody to watch you after you visited one of these places once. That’s precisely what Chrome does to you.
Shopping, news, and government sites tag your browser and harvest your data for advertising and other purposes. Their goal is to gather as much data about you as possible.
Who makes this all possible? Google. Google is the world’s biggest advertiser, and they are the ones who profit from all this data. In 2018, Google made $116 billion in ad revenue, doubling since 2015.
Why does Google make so much money from advertising? Because there’s a market for it. Advertisers know Google provides the most insight into potential customers. And that’s what ensures a high ROI for ad-spend. The more data Google harvests about you, the more money they stand to make. And Chrome is the top place where they get all that information.
Chrome Welcomes Trackers
Trackers are what they sound like. It’s a practice that allows website operators to collect, store, and share user activity. Each time you visit a new site using Chrome, you pick up another tracker.
That’s because (unlike browsers like Firefox and Safari) Chrome welcomes trackers. In a week of browsing, you can pick up thousands of tracker “cookies”. Companies, including Google, use them to follow your browsing habits, income, and personality. It enables them to build profiles on you.
And you can find these trackers in places you think would be private. For example, insurance and student aid websites. If you have a Chrome browser on your phone, you also send your location information every time you conduct a search. Even if you turn off location data, it still sends out your coordinates; only they are less accurate.
Concerned yet? And it doesn’t even touch privacy issues in other Google apps like Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Waze, and other products it owns.
Chrome’s Lack Of Security Features
Not only is Chrome a threat to your privacy but your security as well. Trackers may let in the wrong people. Cybercriminals can take advantage of data on you. They can use it to steal your identity, hack your accounts, or use ransomware techniques to lock you out of your files.
Google doesn’t even do a decent job of securing the data you want to share with them. Many people store login credentials on Chrome. The problem is Google has no protection for these saved passwords. If somebody hacks your Google account, any stored passwords are easy to access. Not to mention anyone using your device can discover them with ease too.
So even if you don’t decide to ditch Chrome after reading this article, you should, at least, move your passwords over to a password manager. Password managers encrypt your stored passwords, so only you have access to them. There’s no way for hackers to see what they are unless they somehow get the master password. And your passwords backup and sync automatically. It ensures that you always have access across your devices and browsers.
Making The Switch is Easier than You Think
Over a decade ago, two browsers, Firefox and Chrome, took on Microsoft to work towards a safer and more seamless internet experience. But both took different paths. Firefox decided to focus on user privacy while Chrome on ease of use and integration.
But as society becomes more privacy-conscious, more users start to see the real privacy concerns with Chrome. And they shouldn’t put up with it, especially when there are plenty of alternatives out there.
From mainstream options, Firefox is an excellent browser. It is as functional as Chrome and comes with default anti-tracking technology. Even Safari now uses “intelligent tracking protection” to block harmful cookies. It makes Chrome the only major browser that doesn’t have this type of protection.
Whether you go with Firefox, Safari, or dedicated privacy options like Epic Browser, changing browsers requires little effort on your part. You can add all your favorite extensions and not even notice the difference in under ten minutes. There’s nothing to lose and all the privacy in the world to gain.