When you open Chrome to surf the Web, do you have any idea what or who’s looking back at you? If you peer under the hood of Google Chrome, you’ll discover shopping, news, and government sites quietly tagging your browser to let a few thousand friends in the form of ad and data companies ride shotgun while you click around the Web. Seen from the inside, Google’s Chrome browser resembles snoopy surveillance software.

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Do you know what technology is really up to, under the cover of small-print privacy policies that nobody reads? Having the world’s largest advertising company in charge of the most popular Web browser is about as smart as letting kids run a candy shop.

Chrome has welcomed trackers even at websites you would think would be private. Check the upper right corner of your Chrome browser for a picture or name in a circle. That means you’re logged in to the browser, and Google might be tapping into your Web activities to target ads. Chrome recently started doing this automatically (without you signing in) when you use Gmail.

It’s even sneakier on your phone, sending Google your location every time you conduct a search.

There are ways to defang Chrome, which is way more complicated than just using “Incognito Mode.” But it’s much easier to switch to a browser that’s not owned by an advertising company.

At PC Therapist, we highly recommend making the switch to the nonprofit Mozilla Firefox browser, which has default privacy protections and blocks tracker “cookies.” As an example, cookies are how a pair of pants you view on one site ends up following you around in ads elsewhere. Your Web history – like the color of your underdrawers – ain’t nobody’s business! Letting anyone collect personal data leaves you open to abuse by bullies, spies, and hackers.

Firefox doesn’t view privacy as an “option.” They’ve launched a war on surveillance with “enhanced tracking protection” that blocks nosy cookies by default.

And switching involves less inconvenience than you might imagine. Firefox offers tools to help you move your bookmarks, and shifting passwords is easy if you use a password manager.

If you have any questions, we’re here to help… send us an e-mail or give us a call!