Using Web Services and Prediction Services in Google Chrome

Understanding privacy concerns

Google Chrome uses a variety of web services, preload settings, and prediction services to improve the browsing experience. These range from suggesting an alternate website when the one you're attempting to view is unreachable to predicting network actions ahead of time in order to speed up page load times.

While these features provide a welcome level of convenience, they may also present privacy concerns for some users. Whatever your stance on this functionality, it is key to understand how it works in order to get the most out of the Chrome browser.

You can no longer user a Prediction service in Chrome. The setting titled Use a prediction service to help complete searches and URLs typed in the address bar no longer exists. However, you can still disable a number of similar services, which we describe below.

Accessing Chrome's Privacy Settings

A variety of settings and services can be toggled on or off in Chrome's privacy settings section. This tutorial explains some of these features, as well as how to enable or disable each of them.

  1. Open Chrome and select the Chrome menu button in the upper-right corner of the browser window, represented by three vertically aligned dots.

    A screenshot of Chrome with the More Options menu highlighted
  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select the Settings option. Chrome's Settings page will open.

    A screenshot of Chrome with the Settings command highlighted
  3. From the menu bar on the lefthand side, select Privacy and settings.

    A screenshot of Chrome settings with the Privacy and Security heading highlighted
  4. Chrome's Privacy settings will now be visible.

    • Select Clear browsing data to remove history, cookies, and password data.
    • Select Cookies and other site data to set how Chrome handles cookies and browser tracking.
    • Select Security to adjust Chrome's safe browsing and data protection settings.
    • Select Site settings to control permissions for specific websites, such as location access, microphone use, and notifications.
    Security and Privacy settings in Chrome

Preload Pages for Faster Browsing and Searching

Navigation Errors

Chrome can pre-fetch information from the websites you visit, including some you have not yet visited. This helps page load faster, though it may present some security concerns.

Data collected via the pre-fetching setting may include cookies, if you allow cookies.

  1. Open Chrome and select the Chrome menu button in the upper-right corner of the browser window, represented by three vertically aligned dots.

    A screenshot of Chrome with the More Options menu highlighted
  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select the Settings option. Chrome's Settings page will open.

    A screenshot of Chrome with the Settings command highlighted
  3. From the menu bar on the lefthand side, select Privacy and settings. Chrome's Privacy settings will now be visible.

    A screenshot of Chrome settings with the Privacy and Security heading highlighted
  4. Select Cookies and other site data to open a list of privacy settings.

    The "Cookies and other site data" option
  5. Scroll down. Next to the option titled Preload pages for faster browsing and searching, toggle the switch to the On position (blue), if it is not already.

    The "Preload pages" switch

When active, Chrome employs a mixture of pre-rendering technology and IP lookup of all links found on the page. By obtaining the IP addresses of all links on a Web page, subsequent pages will then load significantly faster when their respective links are clicked upon.

Pre-rendering technology utilizes a combination of website settings and Chrome's own internal feature set. Some website developers might configure their pages to preload links in the background so that their destination content is loaded almost instantly when selected. In addition, Chrome also occasionally decides to pre-render certain pages on its own, based on the URL being typed into the address bar and your past browsing history.

Turn Off Autocomplete Searches and URLs

Follow these steps to disable Chrome's autocomplete setting, which uses some website and cookie data to automatically fill out search terms and website URLs as they are typed into a search field or address bar.

  1. Open Chrome and select the Chrome menu button in the upper-right corner of the browser window, represented by three vertically aligned dots.

    A screenshot of Chrome with the More Options menu highlighted
  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select the Settings option. Chrome's Settings page will open.

    A screenshot of Chrome with the Settings command highlighted
  3. Select You and Google from the left menu bar.

    You and Google in Chrome settings
  4. Click Sync and Google Services.

    Sync and Google Services in Chrome settings
  5. Next to Autocomplete searches and URLs, toggle the switch to the Off position (gray), if it is not already.

    The "Autocomplete searches and URLs" switch in Chrome settings

Turn Off Enhanced Spell Check

When enabled, Enhanced Spell Check makes use of the Google Search spell-checker whenever you type in a text field. Although handy, there is a privacy concern with this option, in that your text must be sent to Google's servers in order for its spelling to be verified. If this worries you, then you may want to leave this setting as-is. If not, it can be enabled by simply placing a mark next to its accompanying checkbox with a click of the mouse.

Enhanced Spell Check is disabled by default. if you'd like to adjust this setting, go to the Sync and Google services settings as described above and toggle the Enhanced Spell Check switch to the Off position.

The "Enhanced Spell Check" switch in Chrome settings