If you employ a number of Chrome web extensions to enhance your browsing experience, be aware that change is afoot. Google recently announced that as of early next year, the company is adding a “Privacy Practices” section on each extension’s listing on the Web Store, which will outline exactly what data they will collect from you if you install their extension, and what they mean to do with it.
The change is slated to go into effect on January 18th, 2021, and has been almost universally lauded as an excellent one. It gives you a much clearer idea of what data developers are looking for from you, and it allows you to make better and more informed choices about which extensions you want to install.
Google isn’t the only big tech company to have made moves in this direction. In fact, Apple is slightly ahead of them here. At the WWDC 2020 developer conference, Apple announced a similar feature that is slated to go live on December 8th, 2020.
Privacy has been a big, thorny issue in 2020, and it will likely continue to be one of the defining issues of our time for many years to come. Any tools that big tech firms give us, as individual users, more control over who gets access to our personal information, the better. Here, both Google and Apple are making solid moves in the right direction.
Granted, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, but these are exceptional first steps. Kudos to both Google and Apple for taking meaningful action that puts more control in the hands of their users, and don’t forget to check out the new “Privacy Practices” section before you install that extension you’re interested in. The developer that made it might be looking for more information than you’re comfortable with sharing.