Google Chrome Gains Location Control: You Decide Who Tracks You

Chrome gains location control! Choose which sites can access your location on Chrome OS, just like camera and mic. This update arrives in 2024 with more privacy features for Chromebooks and Chrome mobile.

Google Chrome for desktop is poised to introduce a forthcoming feature empowering users to regulate which websites can access their location data.

Similar to the functionality introduced last year for controlling camera and microphone permissions, this new location control feature will grant users the ability to manage location access for all applications and services on Chrome OS. This includes Android apps, web apps utilized within Chrome, and background system functions. However, while the update primarily aims to restrict Google Location Services, it’s noted that apps and websites might still deduce a user’s approximate location based on their IP address.

As reported by 9to5Google, Chrome OS is anticipated to receive these location tracking controls within the first half of 2024. These controls will be conveniently accessible within Settings under the Security and Privacy section. Additionally, alongside the location control update, Chrome OS is set to introduce app-specific permissions for camera, microphone, and location. This enhancement will allow users to selectively grant access to these features on a case-by-case basis, providing heightened privacy control over their Chromebook.

Moreover, for enterprise clients, Google is introducing a secure local data recovery feature for Chrome OS. This feature ensures that when users misplace or forget their passwords, access to both their account and physical device is required to restore local data. Recovery attempts are meticulously logged in a tamper-proof ledger, preserving user privacy and promptly detecting any unauthorized access attempts.

Furthermore, as part of Google’s ongoing efforts to bolster user privacy and security, several security enhancements have been recently implemented for Google Chrome. These include real-time URL protection through Google Safe Browsing and improved password management on Chrome for iOS.

Google’s Safe Browsing feature now provides real-time defense against phishing, malware, and other online threats. Unlike the previous method of using periodically updated local lists, Chrome now compares websites against a server-side list of known malicious sites in real-time. This shift is expected to significantly reduce the vulnerability window and increase phishing block rates by 25%. Additionally, this enhanced capability, slated to roll out to Android later, employs encryption and privacy-enhancing techniques to ensure user privacy while browsing.

In tandem, Google has upgraded the Password Checkup tool on Chrome for iOS, enabling it to identify compromised passwords and flag weak or reused ones. Users will receive prompt alerts regarding password issues, encouraging immediate action to fortify account security. This enhancement not only empowers users to take control of their online safety but also allows for manual password inspections at any time via the Safety Check option in Chrome Settings.

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