Google Chrome gets a big upgrade for controlling your privacy — what you need to know

Laptop computer displaying logo of Google Chrome, a cross-platform web browser developed by Google.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Update: Google issues urgent security fix for Chrome — update right now.

Back at I/O 2020, Google revealed that the Chrome browser was getting redesigned privacy and security settings — all with the goal of making those settings easier to understand. Now, almost two years later, Google is taking that a step further with a new “Privacy Guide.”

The purpose of the new privacy guide is to offer a step-by-step tour of Chrome’s privacy and security settings. Combined with simple language and visual aids, the idea is to help users better understand exactly what all these settings mean — and what benefits or consequences are involved.

Settings menus can seem daunting and unorganized if you don’t know where to go. Even if you do, understanding the options you find isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Breaking all that down, so you don’t feel you need some sort of advanced IT degree to understand what it's saying, is going to be a huge benefit.

google chrome privacy guide gif in action

Chrome's Privacy Guide in action (Image credit: Google)

Right now Privacy Guide includes controls for cookies, history sync, Safe Browsing and the “Make Searches and browsing Better” option. 

Those last two are responsible for warning users when they visit potentially unsafe sites, and allowing Google to anonymously collect data about your browsing habits. Both have some major consequences attached, and it’s important people know exactly what they’re getting into when they enable or disable the features.

Google has confirmed more settings could be added to Privacy Guide in future, and decisions will be based on feedback the company gets from the community. You also won’t need to complete the entire Guide in one go. Chrome will save changes as you progress, meaning you can complete the whole process at your own pace.

The Privacy Guide will appear in the “Privacy and Security” tab of Chrome’s settings menu, which can be found by clicking the three dots in the top right corner of your browser window. However, the Guide itself is being gradually rolled out to all M100 Chrome Desktop users over the next several weeks, so don’t panic if you can’t see it right away. 

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.