Google Chrome debuts new ways to protect internet users

9 Nov 2017

Chrome browser on mobile. Image: Pe3k/Shutterstock

New measures from Chrome will mean less users are taken advantage of or exploited.

As the world’s most popular web browser, Google Chrome is responsible for the internet experiences of the majority of the world’s online population.

Recently, the browser saw a small number of web content producers abuse the internet’s flexibility and power to take advantage of users and redirect them to unintended destinations.

A trio of measures

One out of five user feedback reports received by Chrome mention encountering some form of unwanted content, and Chrome is responding by rolling out three new protections for users to reduce instances of unwanted behaviour.

1. Blocking annoying redirects

Chrome said it regularly hears from users that a page will unexpectedly navigate to a new page, seemingly without any rhyme or reason. The team found that the redirects often come from third-party content embedded in the page, and usually is nothing to do with the page author.

In Chrome 64, all redirects from third-party iframes are now going to be visible as an infobar instead of a redirect, unless the user has been interacting with the iframe. This will keep you on the page you’re reading, without any annoying redirect jumps.

2. Unwanted page openings

Another example Chrome gave was when clicking a link opens the desired site destination in a new tab, but the main window navigates to an unwanted, different page. This is essentially a circumvention of Google’s pop-up blocker. In Chrome 65, this behaviour will be detected, triggering an infobar. The main tab will then be prevented from redirecting to an undesired web address.

3. Tackling sneaky pop-up blocker workarounds

Finally, Chrome is tackling some of the more subtle grievances that affect our web browsing: links to third-party websites disguised as play buttons or other site controls like an exit button or arrow, and transparent overlays on certain websites that capture all clicks and open new windows or tabs.

Beginning in early January, Chrome’s pop-up blocker will prevent sites with these types of abusive experiences from opening new tabs or windows. Chrome has also launched an Abusive Experiences Report in the Google Search Console, where site owners can see if any of the above experiences are detected on their pages. Abusive experiences left unaddressed for 30 days will mean tabs and new windows on the affected site are prevented.

 A new browsing experience

These new measures should go a long way to make users’ web browsing a more straightforward and transparent experience.

They could also be helpful in the avoidance of malicious pop-ups or other suspicious links.

Chrome browser on mobile. Image: Pe3k/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects