Google has announced that it has begun the rollout of new tools and a redesign of the Chrome web browser's privacy and security settings on desktop. The goal is to give users more control over their safety on the web. Among the updated controls are easier to manage cookies allowing users to choose if and how cookies are used by websites they visit. The browser now has the ability to block third-party cookies in regular or incognito mode and block all cookies on some websites.
Updated Site Settings include reorganized controls in two distinct sections with the intent of making it easier to find the most sensitive website permissions. The sensitive website permissions include access to your location, camera or microphone, and notifications. Chrome has added a new section that highlights the most recent permissions activity.
Near the top of Chrome settings, users will see "You and Google," which has previously called "People," where sync controls are located. The controls in that section allow users to be in charge of what data is shared with Google to be stored in the Google Account and made available across devices. "Clear browsing data" has been moved to the top of the Privacy & Security section to make it easier to find for users who regularly delete browsing history.
A new safety check in settings allows users to confirm the safety of their Chrome experience quickly. The tool will tell users if passwords they ask Chrome to remember have been compromised, and how to fix them. It also flags if Safe Browsing, Google's technology that warns before users visit a dangerous site or download something potentially harmful, is turned off. The safety check will also inform if users have malicious extensions installed and tell the user how to remove them.
Third-party cookies for specific sites can be accessed by clicking the "eye" icon in the address bar. That feature is gradually rolling out, starting on desktop operating systems and Android. Incognito mode now deletes cookies every time the user closes the browser window. Chrome features a new puzzle icon giving access to extensions from the toolbar. The browser was also updated with Enhanced Safe Browsing giving users more proactive and tailored protection from attacks such as fishing, malware, and other threats. With Enhanced Safe Browsing turned on, Chrome will check whether pages and downloads are dangerous by sending information about them to Google Safe Browsing.
Google has also launched Secure DNS, a feature intended to improve security and privacy while web browsing. Secure DNS uses DNS-over-HTTPS to encrypt the step where the browser determines which servers are hosting a website the user wants to visit. That helps to prevent attackers from observing what sites the user is visiting or sending the user to a phishing website. A custom DNS website can also be configured in the DNS provider area in the Advanced security section.
Chrome's new security features are certainly welcome. The new settings go right along with other changes Google has been making to improve the browser, such as tab grouping to help reduce clutter.