(Pocket-lint) - Google is making some changes to the way certain settings are handled within Chrome. The goal is to give you easier access to security and privacy settings - and so give you more opportunity to take control of your online safety.
Like so many other popular apps, Chrome's settings have grown exponentially over the last few years. The disadvantage, of course, is that things become more complicated.
So Google has reorganised various options. The new features will be rolling out to desktop versions of Chrome in the coming weeks.
There's now a new Puzzle icon for extensions, leading to a new interface for extensions. The idea behind this is to tidy up the messy extensions toolbar (well, it gets messy if you have lots of extensions) but you can still pin your favourites as separate icons, just like you can pin stuff to the toolbar in apps like Microsoft Office, for example.
Clear browsing data has now been moved to the top of the Privacy & Security section because it's the feature that people use most. Third-party cookies are also now blocked in incognito.
Site Settings now makes it easier to see what access particular sites have to things like your location or microphone and also whether they can send you notifications.
People has been reorganised - although calling it "You and Google" isn't that intuitive. in any case, you can easily see what data is being synchronised.
Originally a separate Chrome extension, Google's Password Checkup is now integrated within the browser as Safety Check, so you can see if your passwords have been compromised and easily update them. Other new security options will tell you if Chrome is up-to-date and if extensions are legitimate and help you remedy these situations if there are problems.
There are also two other major new security features. Google says these are opt-in for now. Enhanced Safe Browsing, as Google calls it, is essentially a Chrome-based version of an antivirus program. Chrome will proactively check pages and downloads to see if they are risky including keeping an eye out from phishing and malware. Naturally, Google will collect this information. It's another sign that Google sees Chrome as a platform in itself, running on top of Windows, macOS or on Chromebooks.
The second security service is called Secure DNS. DNS stands for Domain Name System and this new feature secures the step when your browser looks up the server of a website before it loads on your screen. Essentially it should stop you ending up on a dodgy phishing website because you took a wrong turn.