10 Types of Data Your Browser Is Collecting About You Right Now

One of the most significant ways you leak private data while using the internet is through your browser. No VPN can help you; this is largely unconnected to the service they provide. But what information precisely is being logged? Here are 10 types of data that your browser is (probably) collecting about you. 1. Hardware and Software Your browser collects data about your hardware and software. In terms of software, your browser knows your operating system, IP address, browser, and browser plugins. From a hardware standpoint, your browser collects information about your CPU, GPU, and battery. To restrict the amount…

Read the full article: 10 Types of Data Your Browser Is Collecting About You Right Now

One of the most significant ways you leak private data while using the internet is through your browser. No VPN can help you; this is largely unconnected to the service they provide.

But what information precisely is being logged? Here are 10 types of data that your browser is (probably) collecting about you.

1. Hardware and Software

Your browser collects data about your hardware and software.

In terms of software, your browser knows your operating system, IP address, browser, and browser plugins. From a hardware standpoint, your browser collects information about your CPU, GPU, and battery.

To restrict the amount of hardware and software data that your browser leaks, use a privacy-focused plugin like NoScript.

2. Connection Information

Your browser knows about your connection to the web. That information includes your IP address and browser speed.

3. Geolocation

geolocation prediction from browser

A website can accurately estimate your location, even if you’ve not given it access to your GPS coordinates. Instead, it can use the Google GeoLocation API. Even if you’re accessing the web from a browser on a mobile device, it will be accurate to within 30 miles.

To stop your browser from leaking your location data, you can use a web proxy to access sites. There lots of free options available.

To stop browsers from using services like Google GeoLocation, you’ll need to disable JavaScript. Again, apps like NoScript can do it for you automatically.

4. Browsing History

The most well-known data your browser collects about you is your browsing history.

Of course, you can delete your browsing data. But even then, it might not be truly gone for good. For example, in mid-2018, it emerged that Google maintains records about the way you used Chrome in relation to the deleted data, even if the specifics of the data have been wiped.

We’ve explained how to delete your browsing data on Edge, Chrome, and Safari. You can also delete cookies on all the major browsers.

5. Mouse Movements

clickclickclick results page

Your browser can even reveal your mouse movements and clicks to websites. To see it action, have a play around with ClickClickClick’s free tool.

6. Your Device’s Orientation

These days, lots of smartphones come with built-in gyroscopes. They’re used in fitness tracking apps and similar movement-based services.

This data is collected in your browser. It knows whether your device has a gyroscope, a compass, which orientation it is currently in, and a few other technical details.

Your browser can even predict where your device physically is right now, such as on a table, in a bag, or in a pocket.

7. Social Media Logins

Your browser collects information about which social networks you are logged into while browsing the web.

The app can correlate that information which other data points so advertisers know where and how to target you for the maximum impact.

8. Fonts and Language

browser technical data collected

Your browser knows which fonts are installed on your machine, and which language you are using on your operating system.

9. Image Data

Whenever you upload an image using your browser, it will scan the file’s metadata to learn about you.

The metadata can include information such as location, image resolution, technical specs of the file, and even the camera model that you used to take a photograph.

10. Technical Information

In addition to the points we’ve discussed above, your browser also collects massive amounts of technical data about the way you’re accessing the web.

The data includes your user agent, touchscreen support, whether the Do Not Track (DNT) header is enabled, your screen size, and more.

Checking What Data Your Browser Is Collecting

With so much of your data potentially at risk, it’s wise to do an audit every now and again. It lets you stay on top of what’s leaking and take remedies to fix it.

There are two web-based tools worth checking out. Both are free.

1. Webkay

Webkay is a test site. It scans your current browser to find what information it knows about you that could be shared with other sites.

For each category, you will see the result along with some recommendations about how to fix the issue.

2. Panopticlick

Panopticlick results page

Panopticlick is a tool from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). It scans your browser and establishes whether you’re at risk from “non-consensual web tracking”.

It can send your data to a real tracking company to test whether your privacy software’s whitelists are letting certain organizations bypass your setup without your knowledge.

However, this web app really shines thanks to its fingerprinting tool. It aims to show you how unique your current browser’s fingerprint is.

As you can see from the picture above, my browser was unique among the 2.2 million that the tool had tested in the previous 45 days.

If you try this tool out, you can see the full results by clicking on Show full results for fingerprinting.

Browser Extensions Also Collect Data

Let’s not forget that there are many browser extensions and add-ons that collect information about you.

One of the most notorious examples is the Chrome Web Store. In June 2018, Adguard co-founder Andrey Meshkov discovered that dozens of the store’s most popular extensions are tracking users.

The extensions start to scrape data as soon as you launch your browser. They target Facebook posts, sponsored posts, tweets, YouTube videos, and ads that you have interacted with. In his accompanying blog post, Meshkov said the extensions even try to parse your Facebook purchase history.

The four extensions flagged by Adguard were:

  • Video Downloader For Facebook (180,000 users)
  • PDF Merge: PDF Files Merger (100,000 users)
  • Album & Photo Manager For Facebook (130,000 users)
  • Pixcam: Webcam Effects (35,000 users)

That’s almost 500,000 affected people!

Of course, if these four common extensions are collecting your data, you can be confident that thousands of lesser-known extensions are doing exactly that same thing.

As always, the advice remains the same. Do your due diligence, don’t install more extensions than you need, and don’t download extensions from companies you don’t trust.

Obscure Your Web Fingerprint With These Tips

Even though your browser will not collect or distribute any personally identifying information, it is still possible for companies to infer much about your identity, thanks to your browser fingerprint.

You should take as many steps as possible to obscure your fingerprint. That includes using a private browser and running the best security extensions.

Read the full article: 10 Types of Data Your Browser Is Collecting About You Right Now

9 Chrome Extensions Your Gmail Needs for a Better Email Experience

In spite of numerous efforts, emails still exist and are thriving more than ever. But their fundamental shortcomings have remained the same. It’s still relatively easy for your Gmail inbox to get clogged up with spam. Inbox zero is still a dream for many, you still treat your email as a free commodity and give it everytime a website demands a new account. You get the idea. Thankfully, third-party Gmail plugins have come a long way in the meantime. Here are nine best Google Chrome extensions for all your emailing needs. 1. FlowCrypt There are myriad aspects of your digital…

Read the full article: 9 Chrome Extensions Your Gmail Needs for a Better Email Experience

In spite of numerous efforts, emails still exist and are thriving more than ever. But their fundamental shortcomings have remained the same. It’s still relatively easy for your Gmail inbox to get clogged up with spam. Inbox zero is still a dream for many, you still treat your email as a free commodity and give it everytime a website demands a new account. You get the idea.

Thankfully, third-party Gmail plugins have come a long way in the meantime. Here are nine best Google Chrome extensions for all your emailing needs.

1. FlowCrypt

FlowCrypt Google Chrome Extension

There are myriad aspects of your digital life which deserve better security and emails undoubtedly is one of them.

FlowCrypt is a free extension which lets you send encrypted emails to anyone on Gmail or Google Inbox (RIP). Once you’ve linked your account, the extension asks you to set a custom passphrase and only if the recipient knows that, it can read the message. If the person at the receiving end doesn’t have FlowCrypt or any other encryption platform, you can even set a one-time password for the email.

Your attachments are also secured by the extension. For a monthly fee, you can compose self-destructing emails, send files larger than 25MB, and more.

Download: FlowCrypt (Free, premium subscription available)

2. Burner Emails

Burner Emails Google Chrome Extension

Remember that time when a website asked you to create an account for accessing some information and your inbox ended up being swamped with promotional emails? Well, you don’t have to give out your personal email in those scenarios. It’s time for you to get used to disposable emails.

Try Burner Emails, a Chrome extension which lets you easily produce and manage new temporary emails. Whenever you come across an email form field, you can simply hit the Burner Email icon, enter the new disposable address, and view the content.

Of course, if the website requires you to verify it, there’s a solution for that too. You can have the tool forward emails to your personal email and disable the link as soon as you’re done. It is ingenious and the type of plugin every internet user needs today.

Download: Burner Emails (Free)

3. Hunter

Hunter Google Chrome Extension

Ever scrounged a website for emails? Next time, let Hunter do it for you.

The free extension is capable of going through websites and sift through the email addresses available on its several pages. You can search a specific keyword from its omnibar menu and browse by category too. Hunter also allows you to save leads and revisit them all later from a central dashboard.

The free version maxes out at a thousand requests and for more, you will have to pay.

Download: Hunter (Free, premium subscription available)

4. Hiver

If you’re someone who handles multiple company mailboxes for purposes such as sales or support, you should check out Hiver.

The extension comes with the ability to integrate mailboxes so that you don’t have to constantly juggle between them. You can manage them from the same place. Also, you can assign these mailboxes to your colleagues and monitor their activities.

There are a bunch of more features Hiver offers including a snooze option, templates, and more.

Download: Hiver (Free)

5. Rebump

Rebump Google Chrome Extension

Rebump is another clever extension which automates one of the most annoying aspects of emails: the follow-ups. The plugin sends a follow-up response every few days if you don’t get a reply. You can tweak the messages and their timelines of when they should be dispatched as well.

There’s also an option to track emails’ progress, check whether the recipient has read the follow-ups and more. Rebump is free for the first thirty days and at least five dollars a month after that.

If you need help setting up your follow-up timeline, here’s how to master the art of follow-up and networking. 

Download: Rebump (Free, premium subscription available)

6. Email This

Can’t escape the email vortex but still want to catch up on articles? The Email This is the productivity aid you need for your inbox.

This one lets you email articles and links from around the web to your inbox. The extension also gets rid of every distracting elements such as embedded links or advertisements so that you can quickly go through the clean copy.

There’s no sign-up or access required. If you opt for the premium subscription, you can also label these links, receive them as attachments, and more.

Download: Email This (Free, premium subscription available)

7. Mailtrack

Mailtrack Google Chrome Extension

Mailtrack, as the name suggests, allows you to track your emails whether you’re on your phone or desktop. The extension lets you know when the email was read, how many times it was opened, and which platform was the recipient on.

Mailtrack can even notify you as soon as the email is read. Mailtrack is mostly free but you can pay extra to access a few premium features such as the ability to disable Mailtrack signature, daily reports, and more.

Download: Mailtrack (Free, premium subscription available)

8. Email Monster

Email Monster Google Chrome Extension

Email Monster offers free templates and layouts for designing personalized emails. There are a plethora of options to choose from whether you’d like to send an invoice or create a party invitation. The interface is fairly straightforward too and even allows you to easily customize the designs.

Download: Email Monster (Free)

9. Sortd

Sortd Google Chrome Extension

Watching your list of unread emails pile up every second can be distressing. But what if you could turn in Trello-like lists? Still quite distressing. But in the latter’s case, at least you will have better organizational tools. Therefore, take a look at Sortd.

Sortd turns your mailbox into a multi-list layout where you can simply drag and down emails into specific lists like Marketing, Personal, and respond to them with a better plan in place. From there, you can set reminders, notes, and prioritize each of them so you don’t end up missing the ones which are important.

Download: Sortd (Free)

Master Your Gmail Inbox

Our email habits can help us start off the day well or turn it into a bumpy few minutes. So it pays to pay attention to the right extensions that tame the information overload. Now that you’ve learned about every essential Chrome extension for emails, here are a dozen tips and tools for mastering the Gmail inbox.

Read the full article: 9 Chrome Extensions Your Gmail Needs for a Better Email Experience

Why Are Some Browsers Faster Than Others?

Do you have a favorite browser? If so, what makes it so appealing? For some people, it might be the availability of plugins and extensions; others might like to use a browser that guarantees their privacy. For a lot of users, however, the most important aspect is speed. But what makes one browser faster than another? You can break it down into technical aspects and user-controlled aspects. Keep reading to find out more. The Technical Aspects Every browser is coded differently by its developers. The different approaches to coding can affect how long it takes a web page to load….

Read the full article: Why Are Some Browsers Faster Than Others?

Do you have a favorite browser? If so, what makes it so appealing? For some people, it might be the availability of plugins and extensions; others might like to use a browser that guarantees their privacy.

For a lot of users, however, the most important aspect is speed.

But what makes one browser faster than another? You can break it down into technical aspects and user-controlled aspects. Keep reading to find out more.

The Technical Aspects

Every browser is coded differently by its developers. The different approaches to coding can affect how long it takes a web page to load.

There are two key features to be aware of: the browser engine and JavaScript engine.

Browser Engine

The browser engine is a key component of every browser. It is responsible for lots of tasks, including parsing the HTML and CSS code, displaying it on your computer screen, and enforcing security policy.

At the very least, the browser engine can display HTML and XML documents and images, and establish font, color, and text size. Depending on the browser you’re using, it might also be able to display PDFs and other documents.

Common Browser Engines

Several browser engines exist, but there are four commonly used ones that you’re likely to encounter: Blink, EdgeHTML, Gecko, and WebKit.

Blink is a cross-platform engine developed by Google, Opera, Adobe, Intel, and Samsung. You will find it in both Chrome and Opera. It started life as a fork of WebKit, which itself was a fork of KDE’s KHTML and KJS libraries. It has a free-to-use GNU LGPL license.

EdgeHTML is Microsoft’s proprietary browser engine. It’s specifically made for use in the company’s Edge browser. EdgeHTML replaced Trident (found in Internet Explorer) in 2015. Theoretically, it is fully compatible with Blink and WebKit.

Gecko is Mozilla’s offering. You’ll find it in the Firefox, Thunderbird, and several lesser-known browsers. (Check our list of tips for speeding up Firefox if it’s your browser of choice.)

Finally, WebKit is Apple’s browser engine. It is used in Safari, the Amazon Kindle browser, Tizen smart TVs, and Blackberry OS. Until 2013, it was also Chrome’s browser engine.

Other browser engines you might stumble across include Goanna (a fork of Gecko) and Servo (an experimental Mozilla engine).

Diminishing Importance

In the 2000s, the browser engine was arguably the most critical factor when determining whether one browser could load pages faster than its competitors.

However, as the technology becomes more sophisticated, the importance of browser engines is diminishing. It is no longer the most important technical aspect regarding performance.

Instead, you need to pay attention to the JavaScript engine.

JavaScript Engine

Each browser also uses a JavaScript engine. It has the most significant influence on how quickly a browser can load a web page.

In case you’re not aware, JavaScript is a programming language found on the internet. It’s generally behind user experience features like interactive objects and animations.

The JavaScript engine is responsible for converting a site’s JavaScript code into an optimized output that the browser can interpret in as little time as possible. Once again, there are different JavaScript engines in each of the main browsers.

V8

V8 is Google’s JavaScript engine. You’ll find it in Chrome browser; it’s been around since Chrome first launched in 2008.

It has two code compilers: Full-codegen (a fast compiler that creates unoptimized code) and Crankshaft (a slower compiler that produces optimized code). Code runs though Full-codegen first. If Crankshaft decides it needs optimizing, it steps in.

JavaScriptCore

JavaScriptCore—branded as Nitro—underpins Apple’s Safari browser. It’s the second mainstream JavaScript engine.

It works differently from V8. Instead of using two compilers, it runs all the JavaScript through a lexical analysis to create tokens. The tokens are converted into bytecode using a parser; then four “Just-in-time” processes execute the bytecode.

(For ways to speed up Safari, check out our guide.)

SpiderMonkey

SpiderMonkey was the original JavaScript engine. Netscape created it back in the 1990s. After Netscape’s demise, it became open source. Today, Mozilla maintains it and it’s found in Firefox.

The only other common JavaScript engine is Chakra. It is part of Microsoft Edge.

Which JavaScript Engine Is the Fastest?

There’s no definitive answer to which JavaScript engine is the fastest. One piece of JavaScript code might run faster in Safari; another might run more quickly in Chrome.

Much of the difference is determined by how the underlying JavaScript is written and how nicely it plays with the various engines’ compilers. Some browsers also use loading and caching algorithms to further improve speed on a site-by-site basis.

The User-Controlled Aspects

Some aspects of why one browser seems faster than another one fall under the user’s control. Here are three of the most common issues that you can address right now.

1. Updates

We’ve mentioned this before: you should ensure you’re always running the most up-to-date version of your browser.

Aside from extra features and security enhancements, the under-the-hood technical aspects continually improve. If you haven’t updated in a while, you might see some substantial speed gains by merely hitting the update button.

2. Extensions and Add-Ons

chrome browser extensions page

Plugins, extensions, and add-ons can make your browser far more functional. But they can also be a significant drag on its resources; they chew through the available CPU power and RAM.

We know it’s tempting to keep adding more, but you shouldn’t run more extensions that absolutely necessary.

3. Browsing Data

Browsers collect an enormous amount of data about your usage patterns. That includes your browsing history, cookies, download logs, and more. It also creates an increasingly large cache.

Cleaning out all that data could result in a notable improvement in speed; the browser has to spend less time digging through files in the background to find what it’s looking for.

We wrote about all these issues and more when we covered little-known factors that could affect your browser speed.

Other Ways to Speed Up Your Internet Experience

The browser is just one part of a fast internet experience. Aspects such as your router, Wi-Fi network, ISP, and geographical location can all play a role too.

Some of those are under your control. Check out our guides about Wi-Fi mistakes to avoid and changing your DNS settings to learn more about internet connection speed.

Read the full article: Why Are Some Browsers Faster Than Others?

5 WhatsApp Apps and Extensions You Didn’t Know You Need

whatsapp-apps-tools

WhatsApp is a fantastic instant messenger, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be better. Whether it’s hiding media from snooping eyes on WhatsApp Web or using two WhatsApp accounts on the same phone, a few apps and extensions can make anything possible. To use any of the extensions, you’ll need to be running Google Chrome or a Chromium-based browser like Opera. And of course, you have to use WhatsApp Web on the computer. Meanwhile, the apps in this list rely on Android. But the lone WhatsApp Messenger bot can be used with any device. WhatsApp Business (Android): Clone WhatsApp to…

Read the full article: 5 WhatsApp Apps and Extensions You Didn’t Know You Need

whatsapp-apps-tools

WhatsApp is a fantastic instant messenger, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be better. Whether it’s hiding media from snooping eyes on WhatsApp Web or using two WhatsApp accounts on the same phone, a few apps and extensions can make anything possible.

To use any of the extensions, you’ll need to be running Google Chrome or a Chromium-based browser like Opera. And of course, you have to use WhatsApp Web on the computer. Meanwhile, the apps in this list rely on Android. But the lone WhatsApp Messenger bot can be used with any device.

WhatsApp Business (Android): Clone WhatsApp to Use Two Numbers on One Phone

Run Multiple WhatsApp with Dual-Sim by using WhatsApp Business

If you have a dual-SIM phone, you probably want a WhatsApp account for each of the numbers. There are cloning apps to use multiple accounts, but WhatsApp doesn’t work on most of them anymore. An easier option is to use WhatsApp Business.

WhatsApp Business is an official app from WhatsApp, which is basically another version of the messenger you are used to. It has a few additional features for businesses, like “quick replies” to send frequently written messages, labels to identify different chats, and so on.

But more than anything else, WhatsApp Business works perfectly with two different numbers. The contact list remains the same on both apps, but you get to decide which SIM you want to reply from by firing up either WhatsApp or WhatsApp Business.

Right now, WhatsApp Business is available only for Android and not on iOS. WhatsApp has said that it will soon be launching an iOS version for the new iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, which let you use two SIMS.

Download: WhatsApp Business for Android (Free)

WhatsAuto (Android): Send Auto-Replies When You’re Busy

Sometimes, you’re driving your car, studying for an exam, or are too busy to reply to incoming messages. You still don’t want to be rude though. WhatsAuto lets you set up auto-replies for any texts you get.

The app is easy to customize. You can choose from preset template auto-replies, or create a custom one. It works with formatting, so you can bold, italicize, or strikethrough any text. You can choose who to send auto-replies to, such as your whole contact list, only some people, or all people with the exception of your favorites. By default, there is an “Auto Reply” header on top of the reply, but you can remove that if you want.

WhatsAuto also lets you choose how often to send a message. You can reply to every message that a contact sends, or be less annoying by giving them a five-minute window before sending the auto-reply again to that contact.

While there’s a status saving feature in WhatsAuto, it didn’t work well for me.

Download: WhatsAuto for Android (Free)

WikiBot (Any): Look Up Wikipedia Explanations on Whatsapp

WikiBot looks up Wikipedia defnitions on Whatsapp

WhatsApp is more than just a chat app. There are some powerful services you can use in WhatsApp, like job alerts, news updates, and so on. One other service you probably didn’t know about is Wikipedia. Send a word to WikiBot, and it will show you the Wikipedia definition.

Here’s how it works. You will need to add WikiBot’s phone number to your contact list first, and ideally save it as WikiBot. Then send a message to the number that says:

join ultramarine-tapir

You will get a reply acknowledging that you have activated the service, and will also mention a method to unsubscribe if you ever want to.

That’s it, you’re set to use the bot. Send a word or a phrase, and WikiBot will reply with a few lines of definition. It’s a good way to look up the meanings of simple things or find out who a person is, without having to Google them.

Hide Media (Chrome): Hide Photos and Videos on WhatsApp Web

Hide Images and Videos on Whatsapp Web

WhatsApp Web auto-loads all the photos and videos anyone sends you. And on the big computer screen, that can be a privacy nightmare as anyone walking by can see what’s on your screen.

Hide Media is a simple extension that auto-hides all images on WhatsApp Web by default. The image is still downloaded, but it is blurred so that you can’t see it. To view the image or video, hover your mouse cursor over it to reveal. For a video, you can press the play button once you reveal it.

It’s a simple and efficient app to take back some control over your privacy while using WhatsApp Web. Of course, you should also be using other tips to maintain privacy while using WhatsApp.

Download: Hide Media for Chrome (Free)

WAToolkit (Chrome): Read Message Previews, Change Text Width

WAToolkit is the best Chrome extension for Whatsapp

WAToolkit is a must-have Chrome extension for anyone who uses WhatsApp Web. It adds two tricks that make WhatsApp Web so much better, along with a few other useful features.

First, WAToolkit fixes the width of chat bubbles. For some reason, WhatsApp doesn’t stretch chat bubbles across the entire screen, not utilizing the extent of your wide monitor. WAToolkit makes chat bubbles full-width to optimize screen space.

Second, you get a WAToolkit icon in Chrome’s toolbar. When you get a new message, the icon will add a badge for unread messages. Hover over the icon to read all your incoming messages without ever switching to the WhatsApp Web window. It’s not only a time-saver, but it’s also a sneaky WhatsApp Web trick to read messages without them getting the two blue ticks for “Seen”.

The aforementioned icon also turns orange if there’s a connectivity issue with your phone, which happens quite often with WhatsApp Web. WAToolkit also adds always-on desktop notifications, so that even when you close Chrome, you get WhatsApp Web notifications.

Download: WAToolkit for Chrome (Free)

WhatsApp Can Do a Lot Without Add-Ons

These apps and extensions are an excellent way to power up your WhatsApp experience. Right now, there isn’t much love for iOS, but hopefully that will change over time. Still, you don’t always need to rely on add-ons.

In fact, WhatsApp introduces new features all the time, making many of these tools redundant. For example, you can now check which chats are using up the most amount of storage space, or change numbers while still keeping your WhatsApp data intact.

Read the full article: 5 WhatsApp Apps and Extensions You Didn’t Know You Need

Can You Trust Your Browser With Credit Card Information?

browser-creditcard-safety

You’re shopping online; you find the perfect item, proceed to checkout, and pay. Your browser remembers your username. It might even remember your password, based on what you’ve entered in the past. But then it asks whether you want it to save your credit card information. Can you trust your browser with keeping that secure? Should you avoid Autofill altogether? And how can your browser keep your financial data safe when you’re visiting websites? What Exactly Is Autofill? We trust our browsers with a huge amount of data, mostly because we feel we have to. You must have confidence that…

Read the full article: Can You Trust Your Browser With Credit Card Information?

You’re shopping online; you find the perfect item, proceed to checkout, and pay. Your browser remembers your username. It might even remember your password, based on what you’ve entered in the past.

But then it asks whether you want it to save your credit card information. Can you trust your browser with keeping that secure? Should you avoid Autofill altogether? And how can your browser keep your financial data safe when you’re visiting websites?

What Exactly Is Autofill?

We trust our browsers with a huge amount of data, mostly because we feel we have to. You must have confidence that your browsing history, for instance, won’t be leaked en masse. Yet many of us are wary of the private information collected and used for advertising.

Nonetheless, we become complacent and let Autofill (a feature in web browsers like Google Chrome) and Autocomplete do the hard work for us.

No one likes filling in forms, and so Autofill will add in your email, phone number, and address for you if you want. You have to have this function turned on, of course—we’ll come back to this later on because you’ll need to know how toggle settings. Most mainstream browsers do this, notably Google Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge, which boast the lion’s share of the market.

You can also use Autocomplete on Opera and Mozilla Firefox, both of which are especially well-known for their focus on maintaining your privacy.

You might think this is all done through cookies stored automatically, but implementation is more complex than that. It’s not simply a case of storing information: it’s also about presenting it in the appropriate fields.

There’s a section devoted to Autofill on your browser, so you can add in your credit or debit card information and rely on that in future. On Chrome, all you need to do is visit chrome://settings/autofill and enter payment methods.

But wait. Before you do that, you should know the dangers…

Should You Use Autofill for Payment Methods?

The problem with using Autofill for credit card information isn’t about trusting your browser. It’s about hackers gaining access to this through phishing sites.

Phishing is simply a fraudulent means of obtaining personal information. Websites set up by cybercriminals may have text boxes for basic information which we regularly give up anyway. Despite the value of personal data, we often submit our names and email addresses. They don’t feel like a valuable commodity anymore because we use them to sign up for social networks, online shops, and newsletters.

If you’ve got Autofill turned on, these text boxes will be automatically filled in. But some phishing sites have hidden elements. These won’t be seen by users, but dig into a page’s script, and malicious code reveals secret intents. These trick your Autofill function into adding private data which you’ve not approved of on the site but have within your browser.

Not all browsers do this. Chrome and Firefox only add credit card details into boxes you specifically click on. If a form element isn’t visible, then you don’t click in the box, so Autofill doesn’t relinquish any further data.

That’s not the only concern, though. Your main worry should be: what happens if someone else gets access to your browser?

This is possible in a couple of notable ways. The first is simple. Someone uses the same device. You probably trust the people you share a computer with, but junked or recycled hardware can be a serious security threat. Ideally, you’ll clean all data from any devices you’re passing on.

Another means is, once more, through phishing. Take Vega Stealer for example. This malware was spread through an email campaign primarily targeted at the marketing and PR sector. Vega Stealer’s main purpose was to collect details stored within Chrome and Firefox, i.e. cookies and credentials stored for Autofill.

Essentially, you store data locally, but that doesn’t mean a third-party can’t access it.

Can You Trust Your Browser to Transmit Data?

If you can’t entirely trust your browser to Autocomplete your financial details, how can you trust it with payment details at all?

Browsers recognize that they have a duty of care. If they don’t look after users, those disgruntled customers will switch to one of their competitors.

Data sent between your device and a site’s server should be encrypted. This means private information is rendered unreadable to anyone without the correct decryption key, i.e. your password. Check a site is secure by looking at the URL; if it reads “HTTPS”, that extra “S” stands for “Secure”.

You could also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which acts as a tunnel between two destinations. Picture a tunnel between your PC and the website you’re using. No other parties can look at what’s going through that tunnel unless they’re at either end-point. VPNs even protect your data when your device is connected to a public network.

As VPNs go, we highly recommend ExpressVPN (save up to 49% off using this link) and CyberGhost.

VPNs are typically a regular expense, but Opera has one already built-in. It’s not turned on by default, so you’ll need to go to the browser settings, then Privacy and security > Enable VPN.

Sadly, other browsers don’t boast this same feature. This is partly because VPNs stop the collection of cookies, which many consider enhance your online experience—though, as Vega Stealer demonstrates, they can also be exploited.

And let’s not forget that you don’t have a choice but to trust your browser to some degree. If you shop online, you must have confidence that your browser takes the necessary security measures. Otherwise, you’re reduced to solely visiting bricks-and-mortar stores.

How Do You Turn Off Autofill?

The process is different depending on the browser you use. Still, it’s typically very easy to do. On Chrome, for example, click on the vertical ellipsis in the top right-hand corner then go on Settings. Or take a shortcut by going to chrome://settings/autofill.

From there, you can turn Autofill off completely, or just instruct Chrome not to collect payment methods. Our look at Autofill’s privacy implications explains how to disable this feature in all mainstream browsers.

Read the full article: Can You Trust Your Browser With Credit Card Information?

9 Extensions That Turn Google Chrome Into a Multitasking Machine

chrome-multitasking-extensions

The browser has gone from being just another app on your computer to being your workflow’s centerpiece. For some of us like me, it is the workflow. But at the end of the day, browsers are apps too. And it can get a tad messy when you’re trying to do everything on one app. Here are some useful Google Chrome extensions for a better multitasking experience. 1. Workona: Workspaces for the Browser If you’re someone whose work largely revolves around internet services and the browser, you know how cumbersome it is to juggle between tens of windows and tabs. Enter…

Read the full article: 9 Extensions That Turn Google Chrome Into a Multitasking Machine

chrome-multitasking-extensions

The browser has gone from being just another app on your computer to being your workflow’s centerpiece. For some of us like me, it is the workflow. But at the end of the day, browsers are apps too. And it can get a tad messy when you’re trying to do everything on one app.

Here are some useful Google Chrome extensions for a better multitasking experience.

1. Workona: Workspaces for the Browser

Workona Google Chrome Demo

If you’re someone whose work largely revolves around internet services and the browser, you know how cumbersome it is to juggle between tens of windows and tabs. Enter Workona, a free extension that brings desktop workspaces to Google Chrome.

Unlike what you’d expect, Workona won’t radically overhaul how the browser functions. Workspaces on this extension are essentially different windows. What Workona does is allow you to easily manage them from a central dashboard. You can create new projects right from the dashboard, add tabs to them, and switch between multiple of them without furiously pressing the key combo until you land the one you’re looking for.

In addition, Workona also lets you save these workspaces and even share with other users. Another nifty feature is a minimal New Tab page with a search bar situated at the top through which you search through those workspaces, tabs, or bookmarks.

Download: Workona (Free, premium subscription available)

2. Bookmark OS: Bring Order to Your Bookmarks

Bookmark OS is another extension designed to make your browser behave more like a regular operating system. It’s a sophisticated bookmark manager which employs a file structure similar to that of your desktop. So like you would browse Finder or File Explorer on your computer, you can do the same with bookmarks on Bookmark OS.

The platform’s interface too resembles a file manager with a list of folders on the left, bookmarks (files) on the right, and a top panel of options. You can easily drag these items across and search a particular one. The bookmarks also have their page’s screenshots as thumbnails and there’s even an option for changing the view.

Bookmark OS is a subscription-based service which costs a dollar every month.

Download: Bookmark OS ($1/month)

3. Tab Manager Plus: Manage Windows and Tabs

Tab Manager Plus Google Chrome Demo

The Google Chrome store has a ton of tab management extensions but the one which might appeal the most to a power internet user is Tab Manager Plus.

Instead of cosmetics, the Tab Manager Plus is all about function. It sits on the Omnibox and when you click it, you have a panel listing all your active tabs and windows. Tab Manager Plus arranges them vertically and employs icons instead of the entire name so that you can access everything without scrolling too much.

What’s more, in the same panel, you have every essential action you would need as well. There’s the ability to minimize windows, search tabs, open a new empty one, and more. You can also switch to a grid mode if you want even more information in a single view. In spite of all these options, Tab Manager Plus doesn’t feel cluttered at all.

Download: Tab Manager Plus (Free)

4. Tab Resize: Effortless Window Management

Tab Resize Google Chrome Demo

Tab Resize, as its name suggests, is for resizing windows into layouts. The extension’s handy menu lets you easily shift to different arrangements such as two windows side-by-side or four of them hoisted onto every corner.

Tab Resize even allows you to build layouts of your own by specifically configuring the columns and rows. You can also make use of shortcuts to quickly jump into a particular formation.

Download: Tab Resize (Free)

5. SessionBox: Session Management

SessionBox Google Chrome Demo

Despite the fact that a ton of users has more than one profiles, today’s browsers still don’t allow concurrent multiple sessions in the same window. Thankfully, there are a bunch of third-party session management extensions—we recommend installing SessionBox.

The extension offers a host of utilities for creating and managing new sessions. Once installed, you can initiate as many as instances of a website as you want and even color-code or group them. For example, you can put your professional tabs in one and personal tabs in another to effortlessly switch between them.

There’s also a feature for sharing these sessions and sync with other computers you own.

Download: SessionBox (Free)

6. Papier: Take Notes on the Fly

Papier Google Chrome Demo

Papier is a simple extension for taking quick notes on the New Tab page. It offers a no-frills, pragmatic design making it ideal for jotting down thoughts when you are in a hurry. The extension can be accessed offline as well and even has a bunch of editing tools for when you need it. There’s also a dark mode for those long late night sessions.

Download: Papier (Free)

7. The Great Suspender: Smoother Multitasking

The Great Suspender Google Chrome Demo

Another extension which you should have installed if you mostly spend the day in a browser is The Great Suspender. The extension essentially ensures the tabs you’ve not used in a while don’t end up choking your computer’s performance and your multitasking experience remains smooth.

It does so by simply putting them in sleep and when you revisit them, it automatically reloads the tab. The Great Suspender itself is a quite lightweight tool so that you don’t have to worry about it consuming resources by being active all the time.

Does the browser still feel sluggish? Try these tips for improving Google Chrome performance.

Download: The Great Suspender (Free)

8. TickTick: To-Do and Task Management

TickTick Google Chrome Demo

Every multitasker needs a to-do app and among the sea of a gazillion of task management, we feel TickTick ticks all the boxes. The service, in addition to lists and reminders, offers all the bells and whistles you would need including collaborative features, a quick menu for Chrome, and more.

And the best part is most of these features can be accessed without the premium subscription. Still not convinced? Here are more reasons why TickTick is the best to-do manager.

Download: TickTick (Free, premium subscription available)

9. Nimbus: The Ultimate Screen Capture Tool

Nimbus Google Chrome Demo

For all your screenshot and screen recording needs, try Nimbus. The extension can be called a swiss army knife of screen captures and comes with nearly every feature you would require for the purpose. That includes recording a specific portion of the window, annotation, adding watermarks, and a whole lot more.

Download: Nimbus (Free)

Supercharge Your Google Chrome Productivity

While the aforementioned plugins help you multitask in the most efficient way possible on a browser, Google Chrome’s web store offers also a multitude of extensions you can install for supercharging your productivity.

Read the full article: 9 Extensions That Turn Google Chrome Into a Multitasking Machine

How to Manage Multiple Browsing Sessions in Google Chrome

multiple-sessions-chrome

The browser is a magical gateway to so many worlds. It is where you chat with your friends, collaborate on a presentation with your colleagues, and more, all at the same time. Therefore, it is unfair that browsers today don’t allow concurrent multiple sessions for the same website. Fortunately, third-party plugins do. Here are some awesome Google Chrome session management extensions. 1. SessionBox SessionBox offers a host of utilities for creating and managing new sessions. The free extension, for starters, lets you initiate as many instances of a particular website as you want. You can color-code separate sessions and even…

Read the full article: How to Manage Multiple Browsing Sessions in Google Chrome

The browser is a magical gateway to so many worlds. It is where you chat with your friends, collaborate on a presentation with your colleagues, and more, all at the same time. Therefore, it is unfair that browsers today don’t allow concurrent multiple sessions for the same website. Fortunately, third-party plugins do.

Here are some awesome Google Chrome session management extensions.

1. SessionBox

SessionBox Google Chrome Extension

SessionBox offers a host of utilities for creating and managing new sessions. The free extension, for starters, lets you initiate as many instances of a particular website as you want. You can color-code separate sessions and even group them. So for example, you can put your professional active tabs in one and personal in another to quickly jump between them.

Another nifty feature SessionBox comes with is the ability to share these sessions with anyone else. This eliminates the need for handing out passwords when you want to let another person in any of your accounts.

Say you want to share your Netflix password with a friend. You could either send them your credentials which can be grossly misused or simply a Netflix session through SessionBox. In addition to these, SessionBox can sync your existing sessions with other devices as well and back them up if you’re switching computers.

Download: SessionBox (Free)

2. Multi Session Box

Multi-Session Box Google Chrome Extension

Multi Session Box, as the name suggests, is largely identical to Session Box. You can produce new sessions, multi-task between, all in the same browser window. However, there are differences. Multi Session Box brings a much more straightforward interface and a narrower feature set. Therefore, if you’re someone who’s looking just for an extension which can handle multi logins, Multi Session Box is for you.

Multi Session Box does come with all the essentials you would need. This includes features such as searching across all the active sessions, naming them, and more. It’s free too and doesn’t have a limit either like SessionBox.

Download: Multi Session Box (Free)

3. MultiLogin

MultiLogin is another such add-on but this one takes an even simpler approach. There are no menus, search, or tagging options here at all. You just click the extension icon present on the Omnibox and it will generate a new, isolated tab. It’s certainly the quickest of them since you don’t have to deal with any pop-ups or cosmetic features. It’s also lighter on memory. Hence if your computer regularly runs out of resources, try MultiLogin.

If you’re someone whose computer is struggling to keep up with Google Chrome’s needs, try these extensions which can greatly optimize the browsing experience on Chrome.

Download: MultiLogin (Free)

4. Account Manager

Account Manager Google Chrome Extension

Unlike the rest, Account Manager is for those who want a more organized and controlled session manager. The extension comes with a functional interface where you can easily view and edit your active sessions. Each entry is accompanied by big buttons for quick actions like delete, save, and more.

Account Manager also offers a comprehensive backup and restore engine which lets you revive any past session with a click of a button. Moreover, Google sync is available as well if you’re planning to move to another computer.

Download: Account Manager (Free)

5. Easy Account Switcher

Easy Account Switcher Google Chrome Extension

Easy Account Switcher is designed for people who regularly switch between several profiles for work and personal use. The extension has a different setup since it doesn’t work by just building new isolated tabs. Instead, Easy Account Switcher asks you to head over to the websites, log in, and then hit a button for saving that as an individual session. You can do the same for another type of session. Once configured, you can swap between both of those by clicking their respective options in the Easy Account Switcher menu.

It’s definitely not as effortless as spawning new tabs but it’s meant for a specific set of users who won’t be juggling between work and personal accounts simultaneously.

If you need more help separating your work and personal lives, here are five digital habits to cleanly do that.

Download: Easy Account Switcher (Free)

6. Cookie Profile Switcher

Cookie Profile Switcher Google Chrome Extension

Cookie Profile Switcher revolves around the concept of website profiles instead of producing new tabs or managing a set of several accounts. Whenever you open a website, you have the option to launch another session by creating a new profile from the extension’s menu. You can develop new ones, of course, as long as you don’t run out of space, tag them individually and work on them parallelly.

If you don’t want to keep a specific login active, you can simply close it and revisit by clicking its profile from the Cookie Profile Switcher’s options. In the settings, you can also access the JSON data of the cookie files the extension has saved on your computer.

Download: Cookie Profile Switcher (Free)

7. Swap My Cookies

Swap My Cookies Google Chrome Extension

Swap My Cookies functions similar to Easy Account Switcher and lets you switch between a set of accounts by swapping the browser’s cookie data. You can make tens of them for various profiles and have your tabs refreshed by simply clicking their corresponding option in the Swap My Cookies menu.

Download: Swap My Cookies (Free)

Manage Your Google Chrome Profiles With Ease

While these free third-party extensions clearly make it effortless for you to manage multiple accounts on the same browser window, Google Chrome itself has sort of a profile switcher as well. But, of course, that requires much more effort and is not as seamless as these tools. Also, the native feature is meant for multiple users in your house who work on the same computer.

Think you’ve discovered all the Google Chrome tips? Think again—these power tips for Chrome will improve your browsing instantly.

Read the full article: How to Manage Multiple Browsing Sessions in Google Chrome

5 New and Different Tab Management Extensions for Chrome and Firefox

chrome-tab-management

Sigh, web browsers and tab management, it’s a never-ending saga and none of the browser-makers seems to be able to fix it. While they try to come up with solutions, your best bet in the meanwhile is to download a useful extension to manage tabs. We’ve already talked about some of the best tab management extensions for Chrome, or other tricks to handle tabs on Firefox. But the reason browser-makers struggle with this problem is that what works for one person may not be the solution for someone else. And so you have third-party developers making new extensions, with their…

Read the full article: 5 New and Different Tab Management Extensions for Chrome and Firefox

chrome-tab-management

Sigh, web browsers and tab management, it’s a never-ending saga and none of the browser-makers seems to be able to fix it. While they try to come up with solutions, your best bet in the meanwhile is to download a useful extension to manage tabs.

We’ve already talked about some of the best tab management extensions for Chrome, or other tricks to handle tabs on Firefox. But the reason browser-makers struggle with this problem is that what works for one person may not be the solution for someone else. And so you have third-party developers making new extensions, with their own spin on how to deal with tab overload.

Over the past few months, there have been a few innovative add-ons addressing these issues. Check out these hand-picked five, one of them might change how you browse forever.

Workona (Chrome): Create Workspaces That Remember Tabs

Workona takes a new approach to tab management by assuming that your open tabs belong to a task you’re doing. Each task is a “workspace”, and the tabs in any workspace will stay only there.

For example, let’s say you have two workspaces, “travel” (with tabs about your upcoming trip) and office (with tabs about your work). Workona basically treats them both as different windows with multiple tabs, but you can switch between them in the same window itself. It’s seamless and fast and has a refreshing sense of de-cluttering your visual field.

In the dashboard, Workona can also save any tabs so that you don’t have to worry about bookmarking and organizing them. And all those saved tabs can be opened in a click.

There’s a lot more to Workona but start with the spaces and the tab-saving. Once you fall in love, you’ll discover its other nifty features.

Download: Workona for Chrome (Free)

Infinite Tabs Manager (Chrome, Firefox): Group All Tabs From One Website

Handle tab overload with Infinite Tabs Manager for Chrome and Firefox

Do you often have many tabs from one site clogging up the whole browser? You know you need them later, but you also don’t need them right now. With Infinite Tabs Manager, you can group and dismiss all tabs from one site in a single click.

It works as advertised. Click the extension’s icon in your toolbar, choose the website whose tabs you want to group, and you’re done. Head to the Infinite Tabs Manager dashboard at any point to see all the grouped links. The dashboard also makes it easy to re-open all those links or remove them all without ever checking again.

Infinite Tabs Manager has one trick up its sleeve that makes it more valuable than OneTab, one of the best productivity extensions for Chrome. It doesn’t close sites playing songs or videos, like YouTube or Spotify. It’s a persistent problem for OneTab users, and it’s nice to see someone else address it.

Of course, like OneTab, you can group all open tabs and close them. It’s an instant way to clean up the tabs bar, while still retaining all those tabs.

Download: Infinite Tabs Manager for Chrome | Firefox (Free)

Tabp.in (Chrome, Firefox): Must-Have for Pinned Tab Users

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Pinning tabs is one of those power tips to improve browsing that everyone should be using, but very few people do. Pinned tabs stay open till you close the browser, making them semi-permanent. But when you close the browser, they disappear and you need to do it all over again the next time. Tabp.in fixes that.

The extension is basically a session manager that automatically pins the tabs after opening them. You’ll need to create an account for Tabp.in, which remembers the group of sites you want to open and pin. It works on both Firefox and Chrome, which is nice if you like to use multiple browsers.

Unfortunately, the extension limits you to one group in the free version. That’s not particularly useful. It would be better if you could make separate “Home” and “Work” groups, or other such groups. Tabp.in lets you do that for a price, starting at £1 per month. I’m not sure it’s worth paying for, but try it out, you might like it enough to buy it.

Download: Tabp.in for Chrome | Firefox (Free)

Snooze Tabby (Chrome, Firefox): Snooze Tabs for Later

Snooze Tabs for Later and avoid bookmark mess with Snooze Tabby for Chrome and Firefox

Inbox by Gmail lets you snooze emails to have them resurface later. Why not do that with tabs which you know you don’t need right now, but might want to look at later?

Snooze Tabby is really simple to operate. When you’re on any tab, click the extension’s icon in the toolbar and select how long you want to snooze it for from the default options. Defaults start from “later today”, increase in time, and eventually let you pick a custom date. A handy “custom timings” setting lets you add new default options as well. You can check your snoozed list at any time, as well as the history of snoozed-and-opened tabs.

Why do you need Snooze Tabby? As the developers put it, it’s a way to keep your tabs clear without adding useless links to your bookmarks folder. Once they get unwieldy, bookmarks need organizing eventually, as do Pocket articles. By snoozing a tab, you can remove it from your tabs right now, but go back to it a little later, without it cluttering up your bookmarks.

This isn’t the first “snooze tabs for later” extension we’ve seen, but the other popular ones don’t seem to be working anymore, or have some bugs. Since this works well, Snooze Tabby is an easy recommendation.

Download: Snooze Tabby for Chrome | Firefox (Free)

xTab (Chrome): Limit Maximum Number of Tabs

xTab limits the maximum number of tabs Chrome can open

Well this is a novel way to solve the problem of tab overload. The extension xTab simply disallows Chrome from open more tabs than a number you set.

For example, if you limited xTab to 20 tabs, it will always keep only 20 tabs open, no more. If you try to open the 21st tab, xTab will close an existing tab. You can choose what that tab is: the oldest one, the least recently used, or the least accessed.

It’s not an over-zealous extension though, and there are some smart failsafes. For example, xTab will never close a tab that you opened in the background but never visited. It also won’t close pinned tabs, since those are assumed to be important.

If you want to be strict though, you can also tell xTab to prevent Chrome from opening more tabs when you reach the limit. The onus of closing tabs is now upon you, not on the app.

Download: xTab for Chrome (Free)

Don’t Forget About Built-In Features

Extensions are awesome at adding functionality that you didn’t know you needed, but they also consume extra resources. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to see if your browser can already do what an extension is offering. Browsers have so many features, it’s easy to miss them.

For example, did you know you can bookmark all open tabs in one go? Tricks like that will make it much easier. So here, learn how to master tab management in Chrome with built-in features.

Read the full article: 5 New and Different Tab Management Extensions for Chrome and Firefox

The 7 Best Free VPNs for Google Chrome

chrome-vpn

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are becoming increasingly popular. They have hundreds of uses, from companies or organizations that want to provide functionality to their work-from-home employees, to regular internet users who want to circumnavigate geo-blocking restrictions. Here are six of the best free Chrome VPNs for you to check out. Note: If you are using these VPNs with the hope of accessing Netflix or BBC iPlayer, be aware that these services and many others are now trying to block access for VPN-based IP addresses. Free vs. Premium VPNs With all VPNs, you get what you pay for. Yes, free VPNs are good,…

Read the full article: The 7 Best Free VPNs for Google Chrome

chrome-vpn

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are becoming increasingly popular. They have hundreds of uses, from companies or organizations that want to provide functionality to their work-from-home employees, to regular internet users who want to circumnavigate geo-blocking restrictions.

Here are six of the best free Chrome VPNs for you to check out.

Note: If you are using these VPNs with the hope of accessing Netflix or BBC iPlayer, be aware that these services and many others are now trying to block access for VPN-based IP addresses.

Free vs. Premium VPNs

With all VPNs, you get what you pay for. Yes, free VPNs are good, but they’re not comparable to a premium VPN service in terms of quality, speed, or security.

For example, many free VPN services only offer the PPTP protocol. This is not as robust as other VPN protocols such as L2TP/IPSEC, OpenVPN, SSTP, or SSH—most of which are offered by the leading paid services.

You also need to consider browsing speed. VPN servers are very expensive to run and manage. If you’re on a free service, it’s probably already overloaded with other users. In contrast, premium providers reinvest a lot of their income on servers and bandwidth.

There are also intangibles to think about. Can you expect reliable support from a free provider? Is the uptime close to 100 percent?

Lastly, ask yourself this: why is it free? In the best case scenario, it’s because the service is riddled with ads. At worst, the provider is stealing your connection and using your bandwidth for other users.

Bottom line: A free VPN is better than no VPN. But if you have the money and value your security, invest in a top paid subscription.

One of the best premium VPNs is ExpressVPN (save up to 49% off using this link). It supports OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, PPTP, includes unlimited speed and bandwidth, has servers in 94 countries, and allows up to three simultaneous connections.

1. DotVPN

Try the DotVPN service for Chrome

DotVPN has been around since 2014 and is now starting to gain serious traction. It has more than 800,000 users according to the Chrome Web Store and has an average review score of 4 stars (from almost 10,000 reviews).

Some of its best features include:

  • Unlimited bandwidth.
  • 12 virtual locations (Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom).
  • Unlimited switches between locations.

The developers are also keen to underline the security benefits. DotVPN uses 4096-bit key encryption—that’s two times greater than modern banking standards.

The premium version costs $2.99 per month.

2. ZenMate VPN

ZenMate VPN us available for the Chrome browser

ZenMate VPN brands itself as a “cybersecurity solution”. They have a worldwide network of highly secure proxy servers which encrypt your information and protect you from malicious websites.

The ZenMate VPN service can be broken down into three parts: internet privacy, Wi-Fi security, and unrestricted internet access.

With regards to privacy, the service will block ad trackers, third-party analytics tools, and social media pixels following you around the web. From a Wi-Fi perspective it will add an extra line of defense when you’re on unsecured public networks, and from an unrestricted internet standpoint, it will help you overcome geo-blocking.

ZenMate VPN also offers a premium service which improves the speed, adds extra locations, and offers 24/7 support. It’s available from $7.99 per month.

3. Hotspot Shield

Browse anonymously with Hotspot Shield

Before we discuss Hotspot Shield’s features, it is important to note that the service is operated by Anchor Free.

Anchor is widely considered to be one of the most reliable companies in the industry; it’s more than 10 years old, has seen in excess of 400 million downloads across its different apps, and currently has 20 million active users in 190 countries.

In terms of the service, it’s both free and unlimited and has versions available for iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows.

Like ZenMate, there is also a premium version of Hotspot Shield. It starts at $2.08 per month, depending on your subscription length.

4. Browsec VPN

Browsec lets you access any site, anywhere

Browsec VPN claims to be “an advanced analog of ZenMate, Stealthy, Hola, and friGate”.

The app’s main benefits are letting its users access any sites from anywhere, enhancing user privacy online, and protecting user data from sniffers and trackers.

It makes a big push on the geo-blocking, but rather than focus on opening up content from different countries’ stores on Netflix or BBC, Browsec VPN instead mentions services like Spotify, Pandora, and SoundCloud—some of which are completely blocked in certain regions.

Browsec VPN also advertises its service as a way to access sites that are blocked on office or school computers, such as Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube.

5. TunnelBear VPN

TunnelBear is a good option for the Chrome browser

Of all the services we’ve discussed in this list, TunnelBear has the best reviews—an unprecedented five stars from almost 10,500 individual ratings at the time of writing. Rather than being a true VPN, this service is actually an encrypted proxy.

Readers who’ve been working with VPNs for a long time will be well aware of the brand name; TunnelBear has been around for many years and has published very successful desktop-based products for both Windows and Mac.

There is one key difference between this Chrome extension and the desktop offerings, and it’s an important one to understand—TunnelBear for Chrome only encrypts your browser traffic, whereas TunnelBear VPN for desktop encrypts 100 percent of your data.

TunnelBear boasts some of the fastest speeds of all the VPNs on this list and has servers available in 20 countries worldwide.

6. Betternet

Betternet is a popular VPN service for Google Chrome

Betternet offers an unlimited free VPN. You don’t need to pay a cent or even create an account.

The app also doesn’t include ads and doesn’t collect logs, which will put the minds of privacy-conscious users at rest. And don’t worry; you are not the product. Betternet makes money by showing sponsored apps and videos.

The VPN itself can be turned on and off with the click of a button. Indeed, that single button is the entire extent of the user interface; it’s super easy to use even for people who don’t have any prior experience of using a VPN.

7. Gom VPN

Our final recommendation is Gom VPN.

The app specializes in letting you access geo-blocked content. The developers specifically name-drop Netflix, Pandora, and Amazon in their description.

Gom offers users 1000Mbit servers and proxies, one tap activation, and an easy-to-configure user interface. It’s also secure, whenever you’re using Gom, all your traffic is encrypted using HTTP2 SSL.

Lastly, Gom does not keep any logs of your activity, thus protecting you agains prying governments and ISPs.

Why Use a VPN?

VPNs have many benefits for end users. It can be something simple like improving your privacy, but it could also be allowing you to navigate to sites such as The Pirate Bay which certain browsers have intentionally deemed to be malicious.

Of course, you also need to be alert as to how these services operate. Despite their best claims, if something is free, it often means you are the product. The reality is that if you want 100 percent peace of mind, you should invest in a paid service.

To learn more about using VPNs, check out our articles on the best VPNs you will find and the best VPN according to Reddit.

Read the full article: The 7 Best Free VPNs for Google Chrome

Learn Better on YouTube: 8 Must-Have Chrome Extensions

learn-better-on-youtube

YouTube has been the default secondary and in a few cases, the main source of knowledge for millions of people. Whether it’s simply to acquire a new skill with video tutorials or refine the existing ones, YouTube has a lot to offer. However, if you’re one of these users, you must have felt the absence of proper learning tools and native features. Thankfully, there are third-party solutions available that can turn YouTube into a more powerful educational platform. Here are several Chrome extensions for improving your learning experience on YouTube. 1. Rocket Note: A Notepad for YouTube Videos Say you’re…

Read the full article: Learn Better on YouTube: 8 Must-Have Chrome Extensions

YouTube has been the default secondary and in a few cases, the main source of knowledge for millions of people. Whether it’s simply to acquire a new skill with video tutorials or refine the existing ones, YouTube has a lot to offer.

However, if you’re one of these users, you must have felt the absence of proper learning tools and native features. Thankfully, there are third-party solutions available that can turn YouTube into a more powerful educational platform.

Here are several Chrome extensions for improving your learning experience on YouTube.

1. Rocket Note: A Notepad for YouTube Videos

Rocket Note Chrome Extension

Say you’re watching a tutorial on YouTube and you learned a lesson worth taking note of. You could either launch another app and jot it down with their corresponding timestamps manually or you could install a Chrome extension like Rocket Note.

Rocket Note adds a little notepad beside every YouTube video. When you come across a section worth taking note of, you can simply begin typing in the textbox and Rocket Note will automatically link it with the exact timestamp.

Rocket Note Chrome Extension 2

In addition, Rocket Note also has a web app where you can find and search all the notes you’ve saved in the past. There’s even an option to categorize them with the help of hashtags. Studying with a friend? Rocket Note can handle that as well. It lets you easily share the notes by creating a universal URL. Sync options are available too. You can also select comments and pin them as a note.

Rocket Note, however, is not entirely free of cost. The free version has a limit of thirty notes, after which you will have to pay a monthly fee of $5.

Download: Rocket Note (Free, premium version available)

2. Invideo: Search Through the Captions

Invideo Chrome Extension

Invideo is another handy Chrome extension ideal for YouTube learners. As the name suggests, Invideo essentially allows you to search through a video’s captions making it perfect for when you’re looking for a specific topic. The extension enables a button at the bottom of every video, click that and a search box pops up. Type your keyword here and jump to the part where it’s found.

Download: Invideo (Free)

3. DF Tube: Get Rid of Those Distractions!

DF Tube Chrome Extension

DF Tube is short for Distraction Free YouTube and it does exactly what it sounds like. The extension lets you hide several elements of the website which can hinder your learning sessions. This includes components like the comments section, the recommendations, autoplay, your subscriptions, and more.

Apart from DF Tube, there are a bunch of other extensions for getting rid of YouTube distractions.

Download: DF Tube (Free)

4. Turbo Note: For Collaborative Learning

Turbo Note Chrome Extension

You can think of Turbo Note as a much more powerful alternative to Rocket Note. While it too comes with all the standard features like notes, timestamps, cloud sync, there are a handful of supplementary tools it benefits from.

For starters, Turbo Note has a feature called “Watch Together” which lets a bunch of users watch the video together and share notes simultaneously. Instead of a regular dull text box, Turbo Note offers sticky notes which are much more pleasant to type on as well as read and get replenished every time you hit enter.

Turbo Note is not just limited to YouTube. It’s compatible with a host other video streaming and education platforms like Khan Academy, Udacity, and even Netflix. Notes taken on Turbo Note can also be exported to an Evernote account.

Download: Turbo Note (Free, premium version available)

5. Transpose: Listen How You Like it

Looper Chrome Extension

Transpose is a straightforward utility for altering various audio settings of a YouTube video. You can precisely change the transpose, pitch, and even the speed at which the instructor is speaking. Moreover, there’s an option to loop a clip from and to a particular timestamp. Although that’s not a free feature. The pro version, which costs about $4, also lets you track the BPM, assign custom keyboard shortcuts, and more.

Download: Transpose (Free, premium version available)

6. BriefTube: Table of Content for YouTube Videos

BriefTube Chrome Extension

The majority of lectures and tutorials found on YouTube can be lengthy. And you don’t necessarily always have the time to scrub through them individually to locate the discussion you’re looking for. A Google Chrome extension called BriefTube thinks it can help.

BriefTube is a smart extension which can form a table of contents by scrutinizing a lecture or tutorial. BriefTube does so by going through a clip and associating the keywords to popular topics. Once processed, you can browse or search this generated index and jump to that portion of the video. Plus, BriefTube adds Wikipedia links to each chapter if you’d like to read up on it before diving in.

BriefTube also produces a tag cloud letting you quickly locate a particular concept inside the video, similar to InVideo. The free version of BriefTube allows you to scan only the first half of a video. For the rest, you will have to shed a monthly sum of $2.99.

Download: BriefTube (Free, premium version available)

7. Looper: For Lengthy Revision Sessions

Looper Chrome Extension

Looper is a free extension that comes with the ability to loop a portion of a YouTube video. All you need to do is define the start and end time periods and Looper will take care of the rest. You can even configure the number of times a video should be replayed and whether Looper should save the settings for when you revisit the same clip.

Download: Looper (Free)

8. Turn Off the Lights: Achieve Peak Concentration

Turn Off the Lights Chrome Extension

Turn Off the Lights is yet another tool which lets you have a more focused and distraction-free YouTube experience. The extension fades everything except for the video window so that your attention doesn’t divert to other sections like recommendations or the comments. You can also choose a custom background or gradient and even fine tune the opacity of the background.

Download: Turn Off the Lights (Free)

Turn YouTube Into a Full-Fledged Education Platform

While these extensions certainly bring YouTube closer to being a full-fledged education platform, there’s an abundance of other ways you can set up YouTube for a better learning experience. Beyond YouTube as well, Google Chrome’s web store offers several tools for students or for lifelong learners. Once you’re done with the studying, don’t forget to use YouTube for an entertaining break.

Read the full article: Learn Better on YouTube: 8 Must-Have Chrome Extensions