Browsing with Google Chrome

 

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Browsing with Google Chrome

The Google Chrome logo

What's coming up?

In this activity you'll find out about the Google Chrome web browser, and how to use it to help browse the web more safely.

This activity is about Google Chrome on desktop and laptop computers, but if you use Chrome on your mobile device, you should still be able to follow along.

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What is Google Chrome?

Google Chrome - usually just called Chrome - is a free web browser created by Google.

Chrome is provided by default on Android devices.

For all other devices, it can be downloaded and used for web browsing, regardless of brand or device type.

An illustration of a laptop computer and a mobile phone displaying the Chrome logo
An illustration of the Download Chrome button on chrome.google.com

How to get Chrome

Chrome can be used on any device, regardless of brand. Even if you already have a different web browser installed, you can still download and use Chrome if you prefer.

For Windows devices, you can install Chrome from the Microsoft Store.

For Apple devices, you can download and install Chrome from the App Store.

You can also get Chrome from chrome.google.com.

An icon of a padlock

eSafety tip

The first time you use Chrome, you may be asked to confirm if you want to have Chrome as your default browser. Agreeing to this means that any links you click on from other programs will open in Chrome, not another browser.

You don't have to say yes unless you are happy to use Chrome as your default, so you can safely decline this request. Chrome may repeat the request intermittently afterwards and it's ok to accept or decline later, depending on your preference.

Chrome keeps itself up to date

It's important that all web browsers stay up to date, to keep on top of known malicious websites and other threats.

Chrome updates itself automatically. Sometimes, it may show you a small button prompting you to Update or restart Chrome to apply the update.

Other times, the update is applied automatically the next time you turn on your computer and open your browser.

An illustration of a Chrome update in progress
A laptop computer displaying an Incognito Mode web page in Chrome

Chrome helps you browse privately

Normally, web browsers keep a record of every website you visit in the browser History. If you'd rather browse without having this history recorded, you can use Chrome's Incognito Mode:

  • Click the three dots in the top right of the main Chrome panel
  • Click New Incognito Window
  • A new browser page opens with a black border and an Incognito logo in the corner.

Browsing in Incognito Mode makes it harder for sites to track you and target ads to you, so it's more private.

An icon of a padlock

eSafety tip

When you use Incognito Mode, the sites you visit won't be recorded on your device's browser history, but it's not completely anonymous. Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and others will still be able to track your internet activity.

A warning message of a potential security risk ahead from Google Chrome

Chrome blocks known malicious websites

Some websites are set up to give devices that visit the site a virus, or to try to steal the identity of people who use the site. These are called phishing sites and Chrome gets updates from Google about these unsafe sites.

If you try to visit a known phishing site, instead of loading the site, Chrome will display a warning message on your screen letting you know that visiting the site is not safe.

You can then press Go back and find a different site to visit.

An icon of a padlock

eSafety tip

Even though Chrome will block most known phishing sites and even some viruses and other malicious software, it's still a good idea to install an antivirus package to help keep your device safe.

You can find out more in our Using antivirus software course.

Signing in to Chrome

You can sign in to Chrome using your Google Account. If you don't have a Google Account, you can create one for free. Our Android phone: set up course shows you how to do this, and the steps are similar on any computer.

When you sign in to Chrome, you get extra features, including a free password manager to keep your passwords safe. You can learn more about password managers in our Managing passwords course.

The Google Account sign in form

Cookies in Chrome

Many websites will ask permission to save a cookie on your computer when you first visit. These cookies may be used to personalise the site, or even target you with ads.

From time to time, some websites may stop loading content correctly and deleting cookies might resolve this problem. You may never need to delete cookies, but it's good to know where to find them, just in case.

An illustration of a cookie next to a rubbish bin
An illustration of the Clear browsing data menu option

Deleting cookies in Chrome

To delete cookies that are stored on your computer:

  • Click the three dots in the top right of the main Chrome panel
  • Choose More Tools
  • From the extra menu that opens to the side, choose Clear Browsing Data…
  • A panel opens, and you can select Cookies and other site data
  • To delete all cookies, click Clear data.

Clearing your browsing history

Every website you visit using Chrome is recorded in Chrome's History. You can manage your privacy by deleting some or all of these records:

  • Click the three dots in the top right of the main Chrome panel
  • Choose More Tools
  • Then choose Clear Browsing Data…
  • A panel opens, and you can select the Time range you want to delete
  • Select the Browsing history option
  • Click Clear data.
An illustration of the Clear data button
An icon of a padlock

eSafety tip

The Clear browsing data panel allows you to choose the Time range for deletions. Options are from the Last hour to All time. Be sure to choose how far back you want to delete before clicking on Clear data.

You can also use this panel to delete cached (saved) images from your browsing data. Your browser saves some images from websites you have visited so that you don't need to reload the image on your next visit. Deleting cached images frees up some storage space on your computer, but next time you visit the site, it might take a little longer to load.

Chrome browser extensions

Chrome supports small programs called browser extensions. These aren't standalone apps, but more like extra tools and functions you can add to Chrome.

You can even get an extension that blocks ads. You can find out more about this in the More tips for safer browsing activity later in this course.

An illustration of the Chrome logo and the outline of a screwdriver and spanner
An illustration of the Chrome logo with a security shield icon

Well done!

This is the end of the Browsing with Google Chrome activity. You should now know how to manage cookies and some browser settings to help use Chrome more safely and privately.

If Chrome is the only browser you use, you can skip ahead to the More tips for safer browsing activity. Or you can continue to learn about safety tips for Browsing with Microsoft Edge.