Fellow Google users! If you haven’t heard, cookies are pieces of data that track your activity while you surf the internet. They save your searches, record your interests, and even file your forms.
If that sounds scary to you… DON’T PANIC!
There’s a simple solution provided by Google itself. We’ll take you through the steps so you can stay safe once again. Although…
As our title suggests, there are a number of reasons you may not want to delete cookies! We’ll go through these so you can see if any apply to you, and the measures everyone should take to remain safe, regardless.
How to block cookies on Google (and why you may not want to)
How to block cookies
There are two paths here: General, a comprehensive course in cookie blocking; and Wi-fi Hotspots, short advice for staying safe on the go.
To reach Google’s cookie settings, open the Google Chrome settings icon at the top left:
Our icon appears like three stacked dots. Yours may be the same:
Whatever the icon looks like, its location should be the same! Once you reach the settings menu, head down to the “Advanced” menu:
Within the advanced menu, find the “Privacy and Security” section. Near the bottom, you want to find “Content Settings.”
Content Settings has a number of great tools, but cookie controls tops the list:
Open the cookies menu. You’re here!
Let’s go down the list, step by step:
1. Allow Sites to Save and Read Cookie Data: turn this off if you want to block cookies altogether. We recommend this only if you greatly wish to protect your information from the potential of data hacks. Remember to read our section “Why you may not want to” before taking this step!
2. Keep Local Data Only Until You Quit Your Browser: remember that cookies are pieces of data sent to your computer (you don’t really visit websites, they visit you). Some cookies can still track you offline.
3. Block Third Party Cookies: we recommend that everyone use this all the time. Third party cookies are non-essential cookies that track your web history over long periods of time, often by large corporations. If the cookies don’t give you any added functionality, why keep them around?
4. See all cookies and site data: section that shows all cookies on your computer and the info they contain. If you’re like us, there are just too many cookies to sort through manually!
5, 6, and 7. Block, Clear On Exit, and Allow: you may notice that these are copies of the original three options. Rather than setting overall guides for Google, you can block, clear info, and allow cookies for specific sites. For example, we allow cookies on Revel, an academic site necessary for some college courses.
While using public Wi-Fi sources, your cookies can be read by the Wi-Fi providers! Unsecured hotspots like “FreeCafeWifi” may not be safe…
So if you do, use incognito mode to make sure the Wi-Fi provider – malicious or not – can’t be able to track your information. Select “New Incognito Window” from the settings menu. Use this for web surfing!
Why you may not want to
As promised: there are a number of reasons to keep cookies around. Here are a few:
Simply put: many cookies make life easier.
Of course, there are more examples: everything from shopping assistance to quick passcodes. If you enjoy these benefits, consider allowing cookies on first-party sites.
Put simply: some things don’t work without cookies.
The internet, like many things, balances risk and freedom. Cookies provide benefits that accumulate into easier, personalized internet usage (barring nonessential third-party cookies and Wi-Fi sources), but keep your data stored where others could potentially find it. Make sure to select which settings work best for your preferences.
We hope this guide helps you understand cookies a little more!