Google Chrome may get a massive privacy boost — here’s what’s new

These private browsers protect you from sneaky apps — time to drop Chrome?
(Image credit: Getty images)

Chrome is the most popular browser right now, but people are starting to prefer privacy-focused browsers that don't track their every move and serve personalized ads on a silver platter. It seems as though Google is in the process of rolling out an IP Protection feature in Chrome that could boost your in-browser privacy substantially.

This IP Protection tool, formerly known as Gnatcatcher on GitHub, was spotted by Bleeping Computer (via TechRadar). The tool would work by routing your web traffic through a Google-owned proxy server, essentially hiding your IP address from those wanting to track you. Eventually, Google might add another proxy server to this setup, so your IP address is further hidden, and neither server has access to your IP and destination URL.

Considering the fact that Google makes a lot of its money by tracking its users, selling data, and delivering personalized ads, this is an interesting move. Traffic will be routed through a Google-owned server, so Google will still have access to your original IP address and data, and they'll most likely keep logs and use your data that way. Still, it's a move in the right direction, but it won't be available to everyone just yet.

How can you get Chrome's new privacy feature?

Google reducing data usage

(Image credit: NurPhoto/Getty)

Although Google will probably still collect, sell, and use your data for its own benefit, this IP protection tool can prevent other companies from targeting you and tracking your activity, as well as hide your IP address from malicious users.

The IP Protection tool will first be available to users who opt in, similar to Google Labs features like creating generative AI images through Search. According to TechRadar, Google says that the tool will roll out in stages for only a few websites in the beginning. The tool's effectiveness will be monitored, and if everything looks good, it'll roll out to more users.

Google has warned that this IP protection tool shouldn't be used as a privacy measure to replace all others, and it could even be subject to security risks at first. One of Google's proxy servers could be hacked, and whoever sees the data could manipulate or redirect it maliciously. 

Or, the proxy servers could be used to disguise the IP address used for a DDoS attack or another fraudulent activity. TechRadar notes that Google could require users to authenticate with the proxy server to prevent this from happening, or possibly introduce rate limits to decrease DDoS misuse.

Despite the potential risks with this IP protection tool now, it's somewhat hopeful news that Google is attempting to hide users' IP addresses through its Chrome browsers. Google's intentions may not be all positive, but it'll be a positive feature for Chrome users. 

Will this new feature convert users who are done with Chrome? Maybe not, but it might cause a few to stick around for a bit longer.

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