Education: Are you giving away too much information about yourself online?

5 min read

Edition: August 23rd, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

Google has revealed the shocking amount of data that its browser, Chrome, collects about users. (Image Source: Getty)

The world is getting digital at a breathtaking pace. Today, we present ourselves to the world through our different online avatars: Our Facebook and Twitter handles may display our political and social leanings; our Instagram account may showcase our creative and cultural leanings; our likes on social media may highlight our shared views about the world and the messages that inspire us; while our online ‘battles’ and arguments show what bothers us and is unacceptable in our value system.

We reveal this information willingly.

But there’s a whole lot about us – our thoughts, worries, concerns, etc. – that we may be revealing unknowingly and unintentionally.

How? Through the web browser we use.

Have you ever keyed in queries into your browser, using your smartphone? A health-related concern, a question about mental wellbeing, a relationship issue and the ways to overcome it…?

You’re not alone. We all do this quite unaware that the browser may be storing this information about us, profiling us, connecting our searches to our other logins / profiles that it already has.

Keeping these concerns in view, we bring to you excerpts from a recent article by Jordan Gloor, which was published on

Google has finally admitted to just how much data the Chrome web browser harvests from its users, and it’s much more than any other popular browser.

So what does Google Chrome know about you? And how you can get out from under Google’s microscope?

Out of control data collection

  • Chrome’s privacy label details the extreme amount of data it collects from its users. 
  • Forbes reports that Chrome not only collects significantly more data than other popular browsers, it also links virtually all collected data back to its users.
  • One of Google’s search engine competitors, DuckDuckGo, tweeted an image showcasing the shocking amount of information that Chrome, as well as the Google app itself, may collect and link back to you.
  • Some highlights include financial data, geographical location and browsing history.
  • While Google admits to all of this, the company defends itself by pointing to the useful features and functions made possible by the data collection.
  • However, other browsers offer much of the same functionality without the data linking.
  • Google has also been developing some privacy-focused initiatives, particularly in relation to cookies.

How can you protect your privacy better?

Let’s take a look at the preventive measures you can take to keep your data safe:

1. Avoid invasive features

  • The data points listed by DuckDuckGo are what Chrome is capable of collecting, but not necessarily what it will collect.
  • That’s partially determined by how you choose to use Chrome.
  • You can reject requests from websites that want to know your GPS location.
  • Additionally, many third-party Chrome extensions collect data as well, so you should avoid installing them when possible, especially if you don’t know or trust the creators.

2. Adjust your privacy controls

  • You do have some control over your data if you change Chrome’s privacy settings. Adjusting those settings is easy, and you’ll be free to continue using Chrome with most of its functionality.
  • Beware, though, that none of the privacy controls will totally remove Google’s watchful eye. It’ll still track as much as possible while you’re signed in and using Chrome.

3. Sign out of Google while browsing

  • Another possible solution is to simply avoid signing into your Google account on Chrome.
  • While Google will still collect some data and do its best to profile you, Chrome at least can’t link it directly to your Google account while you’re signed out.
  • This solution allows you to continue benefiting from Chrome’s power and reliability.
  • But you won’t benefit from device syncing capabilities, and you’ll have to sign in again every time you want to check your Gmail, comment on YouTube, or access your Google Drive.

4. Decentralise your data

  • If you use your Google account for many purposes on Chrome, consider decentralising your data by using a number of other services.
  • You could use:
  1. Zoom instead of Google Duo
  2. DropBox instead of Google Drive
  3. Microsoft Word instead of Google Docs
  • You should also set up accounts for other services manually, and reject invitations to use your Google account to automatically set them up.
  • This strategy will result in several tech companies accessing small amounts of your data rather than one big company.

5. Switch browsers

  • The cleanest and surest way to free your data from Chrome’s grip is to make the jump to another browser entirely.
  • You may want to switch to one of the browsers that requires far less data access and linking, like Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge.
  • Changing browsers can be a pain, though, so you might choose one that makes importing bookmarks easy.
  • If you’ve been saving your passwords in Chrome, we recommend switching to an external password manager, a much more secure approach to passwords.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

Like this post? For more such helpful articles, click on the button below and subscribe FREE to our blog.

Download our mobile app, ICS Career GPS, a one-stop career guidance platform.

Leave a Reply