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Google Chrome aims to enhance user privacy

Google Chrome's new IP Protection feature aims to enhance user privacy by allowing them to hide their IP address from websites, even without a VPN.

Google Chrome, the widely used internet browser, is set to introduce a feature that could significantly increase your online privacy. This development allows users to conceal their IP address from websites, providing privacy even without a .

Cutting down on covert tracking

Google's initiative, known as the IP Protection feature, is an effort to reduce cross-site tracking, which links users' online activities to their IP addresses. This kind of tracking is more intrusive than typical cookie use, as it's challenging to prevent websites from identifying and associating a user's IP address with their actions. The proposed feature would generate a proxy IP address, preventing certain sites from detecting the actual user visiting their pages. BleepingComputer initially spotted this update.

Initial steps and future plans

Brianna Goldstein, a senior software engineer at Google, announced the impending launch of the first beta version of this feature. Initially, it will be an opt-in program limited to proxying domains owned by Google, such as, Gmail, and Google Ad Services. This phase aims to test the efficacy of Google's IP blockers on its websites, which typically track IP addresses for cross-site tracking. Initially, this service will be available exclusively to users in the United States who are logged into their Google accounts on Chrome. A select group will be automatically enrolled in this initial test.

Following this, Google plans to implement a two-hop proxy system. This system involves an additional proxy layer managed by an external network, enhancing privacy further.

Beyond blocking cookies

Google's move isn't just about hiding users' IP addresses from all websites; it's specifically designed to counteract tracking mechanisms beyond traditional cookies. The company is committed to ensuring this feature doesn't interfere with legitimate activities requiring IP address recognition. If these tests are successful, Google might start routing more third-party domains through its proxy.

This initiative is similar to Apple's iCloud Private Relay feature in Safari, where users' IP addresses are visible only to the network provider and Apple, with encrypted DNS records and a third-party network generating a temporary IP address. Such processes slow down the connection speed to websites, a potential issue that might also affect Chrome users.

Embracing privacy enhancements

This step is part of Google's broader strategy to improve privacy, coinciding with its Privacy Sandbox introduction aimed at reducing reliance on third-party cookies. With plans to disable cookies by 2024, combined with the IP feature, Google is significantly reducing the ability of third-party sites to track users across different websites.

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Nurin Sofia
Nurin Sofia
Nurin Sofia is a news editor at Tech Edition. Her interest is in technology and startups, occasionally crunching news for gaming. Sofia enjoys playing video games, going on bike rides, and gardening when she isn't behind a keyboard.

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