Enhanced Safe Browsing is a useful feature on Google’s Chrome browser that many people may not know why to use.
According to CNET, if Enhanced Safe Browsing is enabled, Chrome will check in real-time whether the website the user is about to visit is a phishing site. These scans can protect users from inadvertently giving their information to attackers, which in turn saves time and money.
When preparing to download a new extension from the Chrome Web Store, Enhanced Safe Browsing’s protections will let users know if the extension is trustworthy. Trusted extensions are subject to policies Chrome Web Store developer program
Chrome also scans files before users download them to block suspicious files. If the files are at risk but not clearly unsafe, Chrome will ask the user if they want to send the file to Google for further analysis. This scan and analysis will take a few minutes to complete and users need to take extra care to make sure they are as safe as possible.
Google will also scan usernames and passwords associated with data breaches to see if user information has been compromised. This can help users no longer feel overwhelmed with related concerns.
Despite having good protections, Enhanced Safe Browsing still has its downsides, if users enable it, they will share more data with Google. If signed in to Chrome, the user’s Google account will be temporarily linked to their browsing data. Google says this is to tailor protections to a user’s specific situation, and this data is anonymized after a short period of time to protect users. However, according to one study, this anonymized data can be linked to social media profiles using public data.
Enhanced Safe Browsing can also harm developers. If you’re a new extension developer, you’ll have to wait for Google to tell you if the product is reliable. Google requires new developers to follow its developer program policies for several months before they can be labeled as trusted. This policy could affect new developers who rely on income from their work, and it could lock out talented developers who can’t afford to wait that long.