Chrome is the world's most popular web browser, but it's really not known for its great privacy features. Google does a fine job at keeping others out of your internet "business," but Google itself collects heaps of data when you use Chrome that it holds tight to its algorithmic vest. But with the latest version of the Chrome browser for Windows, macOS and Chromebooks, you now have a new tool that can keep others from knowing the places you visit on the internet: DNS over HTTPS.
More: Google faces more antitrust scrutiny for plans to encrypt DNS
DNS is the service that keeps track of every website on the public side of the internet. When you type in the name of a website, androidcentral.com, for example, a server somewhere matches that name to an address. These requests are sent in plain text most of the time because web browsers and DNS providers weren't set up to handle encryption. That's changing, and we already have other web browsers like Firefox using the HTTPS encryption method and DNS providers like Google DNS, OpenDNS, and Cloudflare DNS able to handle them. Starting with version 83, we can add Chrome to that list.
With DNS over HTTPS enabled, the website name you enter into the browser address bar and the IP address returned are end to end encrypted just like any other HTTPS traffic. While this can cause severe headaches for network administrators, it means nobody — even your ISP — can see where you're browsing. It's important to remember that a website can still get some details about you once you get there, though.
You won't have to do anything to enable DoH except make sure your DNS service can handle the encrypted connection. The list isn't that long, but you can check what companies are on it by visiting the Chromium project site here. The option is also rolling out to Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS users in stages, but typing
into Chrome's omnibar will allow you to set the flag manually. Support for Linux is coming in a future release, but there is no mention of Android support.
This new setting may seem minor, but anything that helps guard your privacy while online can only be a good thing. Seeing it come directly from Google is an awesome surprise!
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