Approximately 7 in 10 people use the Google Chrome web browser. It’s fast, reliable and free – exactly what most of need to surf the web.
But Google Chrome is also a terrible snoop. Every website you visit is logged and sent back to Google to help them build a profile about you and your interests. That profile is then used to decide what adverts you see as you visit various websites – and the Google search engine itself.
Some of us are happy to trade our privacy for an excellent web browsing experience. Others would prefer to maintain some degree of privacy however – so what are our options?
First released in 2002, Mozilla FireFox has always positioned itself as a free alternative to browsers released by major companies like Microsoft. In recent times, FireFox has strengthened their privacy features; the browser does not record the websites you visit, blocks a lot of web trackers and encrypts DNS requests as an additional protection against tracking by your ISP.
Find out more on the FireFox website.
When Windows 10 was released in 2015, Microsoft included an all-new web browser called ‘Edge’. Edge is faster and more responsive than its predecessor Internet Explorer. It is also more secure, blocking third party cookies used by marketers to track you across the web.
Microsoft Edge is available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.
Opera has always been an outsider, but it has attracted a band of loyal users who love its constant innovations and new features. Opera is very fast, and available for most computers and mobile devices. It also includes a built-in VPN that is supposed to block intrusive advertising and limit tracking.
Learn more on the Opera website.
Epic is a very niche browser that uses the same ‘Chromium’ engine that powers Google Chrome. However, Epic is relentlessly focused on privacy, with built-in ad blockers, anti-browser fingerprinting technology and a selection of free VPN options that help to stop ad tracking. Epic lacks the polish and style of other browsers (sometimes it can be downright slow) but if you are obsessive about your personal privacy, Epic may be worth a try.
The default browser installed on every Apple device is Safari. Safari now offers a range of features intended to protect privacy like Intelligent Tracking Prevention that makes it harder for marketers to watch you online. The new ‘Sign in with Apple’ feature also hides your email address from many websites, helping to reduce spam. Unfortunately, Safari is no longer available for Windows PCs.
Read more about Safari privacy.
Plenty of options
If you’re serious about protecting your privacy online, it may be time to dump Chrome as your browser of choice. We’ve outlined five alternatives, but there are plenty more to consider – just make sure you check the license agreement to confirm your privacy is being respected.