Why You Need To Use Google Chrome's Enhanced Safe Browsing Mode

Delivering data security while also maintaining a straightforward, simple user experience can be a daunting task for tech companies. Customers expect companies to offer comprehensive, reliable services without exposing private data. That's a delicate balance. Service providers don't always nail it. 

Google, which has a business built on both making data public (through its browser, search engine, and app ecosystem) and keeping it private (via embedded tools like Google Password Manager and Incognito Mode), is necessarily deeply invested in security. The company offers several tools that claim to deliver top-flight security while also making information easily accessible to users.

Security measures like Incognito and Safe Browsing are widely used data safety solutions on the internet, available not just in the Chrome browser but on Android devices and even through YouTube. In 2020, Google doubled down on its browser security options with a feature called Enhanced Safe Browsing in Chrome. Here's what it does and why you need it.

Watching the detectives

First, the basics. Activating Enhanced Safe Browsing in Chrome is a simple process: just click Settings, scroll to Privacy And Security > Safe Browsing, and select the Enhanced option. The importance of Enhanced Safe Browsing is a somewhat longer story. In short, no security is foolproof, and Google has historically erred on the side of making simple, accessible tools for consumers. Incognito Mode in particular is allegedly considered a bit of a joke over at Google HQ; some users are even suing over its limitations.

By contrast, Enhanced Safe Browsing focuses on the security holes hackers are most likely to exploit. Per Google, Enhanced Safe Browsing uses multiple strategies to guarantee user safety: it checks websites against a constantly updated list of unsafe locations, examines unusual URLs for potential phishing scams, and inspects downloads for dangerous or corrupted files. It even takes a sampling of potential threats a given user has encountered and syncs it with their Google Account, allowing for personalized security focused on the risks that the user is most likely to face. All this happens in real time, as the user goes about their browsing session.

Note that Enhanced Safe Browsing's real-time service means sending more user data to Google than browsing in normal or Incognito Mode. That's a concern worth being aware of: big companies have security breaches, too, and are by no means universally trustworthy when it comes to user data. That said, participating in the digital world more or less requires users to operate within the ecosystem of one of a handful of large companies. If your home or office is a Google shop, Enhanced Safe Browsing is unquestionably the most secure option available.