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15+ Google Chrome extensions for better privacy control

If there's one thing all the recent Firesheep shenanigans have taught us, it's that we all need to take Web security and privacy a bit more seriously. Though you might not be aware, Google Chrome includes a number of privacy-minded features out-of-the-box. From blocking plug-ins, JavaScript, and the transmission of your location via its content settings to disabling prefetching, custom error messages, and usage statistics.

But for the truly privacy-minded, those features may not go far enough. Fortunately, there's no shortage of excellent options in the Chrome Extensions Gallery that can help provide you with better control over your browsing privacy.

Now, on to the extensions -- we'll get the big two out of the way first.

AdBlock

Apart from being an annoyance, Web-based advertising code also tends to harvest information about you and your browsing habits. It serves a purpose, obviously, allowing ad providers to serve more relevant ads. That doesn't mean you have to like it, of course, and AdBlock lets you choose which sites get to show you ads.


Flashblock

Some sites use Flash as a way to creatively store cookies and track you. Installing Flashblock gives you control over which pages are allowed to load Flash elements and which aren't.


NotScripts

Like NoScript for Firefox, NotScripts is designed to give you control over which sites can and can't run JavaScript code. There's a single text file edit to perform before you can use NotScripts, but it's not hard and the extension's first run page will explain it all to you.


JavaScript Blacklist

While it's not quite as flexible as NotScripts, Blacklist is an excellent extension if you want a quick-and-dirty way to block scripts from certain domains (like Tynt or Intelitxt).


Google Analytics Opt-out

If you don't want to go as far as whitelisting and blacklisting a whole slew of sites but would like an easy way to block one of the biggest trackers on the Web (Google Analytics), this extension is for you.


IBA Opt-out

DoubleClick (one of the biggest Web-based advertising providers) allows you to set a "don't track me" cookie. If you clear cookies when you close Chrome, however, you'll have to reset the DoubleClick opt-out every time to start browsing again --but the IBA Opt-out extension makes the setting permanent.


NOREF

This extension blocks HTTP referrers from being passed when you click a link.


Facebook Disconnect , Facebook Blocker, and Facebreak

These three extensions block the various Facebook elements that you see on pages all over the Web. Blocker and Facebreak focus on widgets and Like buttons, and Disconnect prevents any Facebook Connect code from loading.


Vanilla

Being able to selectively keep certain tracking information on your system is another aspect of privacy control. With Vanilla, you can create a whitelist of sites whose cookies you want. It's a nice complement to Chrome's built-in "delete cookies on exit" functionality, and you can also use Vanilla to purge unwanted cookies while you browse (via its drop-down).


Explode

Short URLs are great for sharing, but it's nice to know where they're really sending you before you click. Explode taps into longurl.org, which supports over 200 services like bit.ly and goo.gl.


Facebook Secure Connection

This extension automatically rewrites all links on your Facebook pages to use SSL (https:// instead of http://).


Kill Evil

From the same developer who maintains Explode, Decklin Foster, Kill Evil manhandles several irritating page behaviors like opening new tabs and preventing you from right-clicking. While those examples might not be privacy issues, Kill Evil also puts the kibosh on scripts that alter content you copy and paste (like Tynt) or try to track what text you're highlighting.


Better Pop Up Blocker

Like any good, modern browser, Google Chrome has a built-in pop-up blocker. However, there are certain tricks that it doesn't handle very well -- such as alert windows and certain JavaScripts. Better Pop Up Blocker helps fill in the gaps.


Ghostery

Want to know who's trying to track you on a page that you're viewing? Ghostery can show you. There have been some rumblings about whether or not using Ghostery is still a good idea since they were acquired by Better Advertising, but Ghostery users remain totally anonymous and no data is transmitted to GhostRank unless you opt in.


BugMeNot

Don't like giving up your email address on sites that require you to just so you can read an article? BugMeNot provides a safe, anonymous alternative.

Tags: adblock, browser, chrome, chromium, flashblock, google, google chrome, GoogleChrome, noscript, privacy

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