What you need to know
- Google today announced changes to extensions coming in 2021.
- When they go live, Chrome extensions will no longer have blanket domain permission as they do now, users will have to enable them per domain.
- Google also plans new limits on what extension developers can do with data.
Your Chrome extensions have a lot of power over your browsing experience, and a lot of the time, this is how we like it to be. Google warns you of this when you initiate one nothing that x or y extension has the power to "change the contents of this page." Most of us ignore and use these extensions anyway because if we didn't, we probably wouldn't have installed them anyway. That's not a good practice when it comes to data security, and Google has added a few tools to Chrome over the year to nudge people towards healthier security practices.
From 2021, it will now automatically limit how much data an extension can have access to out of the box. When an extension is granted access to data on an initial website or domain. Google will limit it to only that domain. You want it on another domain? You manually enable it on that site, and so on, and so forth. There's going to be an option to allow extensions to work on all domains, but you'll have to dig into settings to find that.
Obviously, there are cases where you may want an extension to be enabled by default on all websites like, say Google Translate. On the other hand, if you're someone who only uses Grammarly when typing in essays for schools and whatnot, you may question the need to have it active in Facebook Messenger. At least, Google is giving options ad defaulting to the more security-conscious one out of the box.
in the past, Google announced that it would also make extensions show off their privacy practices some users have a clear understanding of the kind of data developers are using. At the same time, Google will be limiting what developers can do with data gleaned from Chrome users.
As browsers like Edge and Safari push their speed and privacy as advantages over Chrome, Google has been forced to evolve. Chrome has gotten faster over the year, and now Google is signaling that privacy will continue to be a big focus going forward.
I fully admit that extensions are a blind spot for me when it comes to privacy. I have no idea what they are collecting. Yikes!
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