What if I don't have Google Chrome
The information portal for safe cell phone use
Sign in to Chrome
When you first open it, Chrome will ask if you want to sign in. When you log in with your Google account, the browser stores a lot of information about your surfing behavior there: which websites you have opened, which bookmarks you have set and which passwords you have saved.
Advantage: If you use another device that is linked to the same Google account, the bookmarks and passwords on both devices are synchronized, for example.
Disadvantage: Google creates a detailed profile from your data. If you don't want that, just use Chrome without logging in.
To sign out of Chrome if you've signed in beforehand:
- Open Chrome and open Settings (three little dots in the top right> Settings).
- Then tap on the symbol with your initials (if you have saved a profile picture, this will be displayed there).
- Select "Sign out and turn off synchronization".
Sync and Google services
Auto-complete search queries and URLs:If this function is active, everything you type in the search field, as well as some cookies, will be sent to the set standard search engine - even if you have not yet tapped on "Search". We recommend deactivating this function if you are using Google as a search engine, otherwise it will be used to create a profile.
Show suggestions for similar pages:If this function is active, Google automatically makes suggestions for correction if a website cannot be found. We recommend deactivating this function, otherwise it will be used to create a profile.
Tap to search:If this function is activated, all words that you tap on a web page as well as the surrounding text are sent to the Google search engine. If you are logged in to Chrome, the address of the website you visited will also be transmitted to Google and logged.
Choose search engine
If you type something into the address bar of the browser, Chrome sends the text to the preset search engine. You can set it yourself with Chrome.
There are four search engines to choose from: Google, Bing, Yahoo !, DuckDuckGo and Ecosia. The default setting is - unsurprisingly - the Google search engine. To change the setting:
- Open the menu in the Chrome app (three dots in the top right).
- Navigate to Settings> Search Engine.
- We recommend the search engine DuckDuckGo, as it does not use the search input to create a profile. From our point of view, Ecosia is also okay.
If you want to use a search engine that is not available, you can add it to the selection menu. To do this, call up the search engine and enter any search term. A new search engine then appears in the list of search engines under "Recently visited".
Exception: You cannot add the Startpage search engine in this way because it is blocked by Google. This is probably related to the fact that Startpage uses Google search as a privacy-friendly alternative.
Set up the homepage
If you still want to use Startpage, you can type the website of the respective search engine directly into the browser. So that you don't have to retype the URL of the search engine every time, you can add the page as a homepage to Chrome. How to set up a fixed homepage:
- Open the menu (three dots at the top right).
- Navigate to Settings> Home Page.
- Move the slider to "On" and tap on the preset address. You can now edit the address and enter, for example, www.startpage.com.
- To get to the homepage while browsing with Chrome, tap the house icon in the top left corner.
The default setting is that payment information provided once is saved in the browser and automatically inserted the next time.
Even if this function has advantages - if you want to follow the principle of data economy, you can access and deactivate it via the path "Settings> Payment methods".
The default setting is that information such as telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and addresses entered is saved in the browser and automatically inserted the next time.
Even if this function has advantages - if you want to follow the principle of data economy, you can access and deactivate it via the path "Settings> Addresses".
By default, Chrome asks if you want to save any passwords you enter while browsing. The security level of this built-in password manager is now acceptable: In order to see the saved passwords in plain text, you have to enter the code for the screen lock with which the device is protected.
If a screen lock is not set up, Chrome will not display any passwords. When you are signed in to Chrome, your passwords are encrypted and stored on Google's servers.
An external password manager, with which you can also manage app passwords, is recommended, especially on mobile phones. Then you should disable password storage in Chrome:
- Open the menu of the app (three dots in the top right).
- Navigate to "Settings> Passwords" and drag the slider for "Save passwords" to "Off".
Here we explain the most important points that can be found under "Settings> Data protection and security" (selection).
Clear browser data:In Chrome you cannot set that browser data such as surfing history, cache or cookies are automatically deleted when the app is closed.
Much of this browser data can be queried by data collectors while surfing. It is therefore advisable to delete your browser data regularly. To do this, open the menu item "Data protection" in the settings and scroll all the way down. Tap on the blue button "Clear browsing data". You can usually accept the default setting.
Safe Browsing:The "Safe Browsing" function is active by default. This option can protect you from malware and attempts at fraud (phishing) that are spread via websites on the Internet. Downloaded files are also checked for harmfulness.
Safe Browsing is designed in such a way that Google does not receive any information about which pages you have visited. According to Google, inquiries are not linked to the Google account and stored IP addresses are deleted after two weeks. The alternative browser Firefox also uses Google's Safe Browsing service. We recommend using this browsing protection.
Access payment method:Sends websites information about which payment methods you are using, e.g. PayPal. Even if you deselect the function, you can still pay with your usual means of payment.
Preload pages:Chrome preloads certain pages even before you tap them. For example, if you are surfing on a website and there is a link embedded there, then the page behind this link can be preloaded. If you then tap on the link, the target page can be set up more quickly.
Disadvantage: browser information and your IP address are transmitted to the relevant website, even if you do not call it up at all. You also need more data volume. We recommend deactivating the function.
Do not track:This function informs websites that you do not want to be tracked. However, websites do not and often do not have to adhere to them. A tracking blocker would be more effective here, but is unfortunately not available for Chrome. Still, it's better than nothing to enable this feature.
Under "Settings> Website Settings", you can set which information you are allowed to access websites.
Cookies:If you tap on this point, you will see two options:
- Allow cookies.
- Block third-party cookies in Incognito mode: Selected by default (slider on the right). This means that cookies are automatically set in normal mode.
- Block third-party cookies: Companies can integrate their own web content on third-party sites and use it to distribute cookies to website visitors. These third-party cookies often record your activities on the Internet. To prevent this, you should check the box next to "Block third-party cookies". Most of the pages work anyway.
- Block all cookies.
We recommend choosing the third menu item, i.e. always blocking third-party cookies. Most websites still work.
Tracking cookies that have already been saved on the device continue to enable identification and online activity tracking. To remove them from your device, delete the cookies from your browser data (see above).
Location, camera, microphone:Here you can set whether websites can see your location and access the camera and microphone. We recommend keeping the default setting "ask first".
Pop-ups and redirects:We recommend blocking pop-ups and redirects.
Advertising:Chrome offers to block particularly intrusive advertisements. However, this is by no means to be confused with a full-fledged ad blocker. This does not prevent tracking.
What's missing: extensions and ad blockers
With Chrome for the computer you can install numerous extensions, so-called add-ons or plugins. Many of these extensions protect privacy, such as the "AdBlock" extension to block advertisements.
Chrome for mobile does not currently have such extensions. There is therefore no effective protection against unwanted advertising, against tracking or for forcing encrypted connections (“https everywhere”).
For this reason, we do not recommend Chrome and recommend the full-fledged and open-source browser Firefox from the Mozilla Foundation instead.
Assistance: Daniela Knoll
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