Google is persistently pushing Enhanced Safe Browsing to users; and Should You Enable It?


Thread author
Staff Member
Jan 8, 2011
Google is urging users to activate its Enhanced Safe Browsing feature via numerous alerts in Gmail that keep coming back, even after you acknowledge them.

The difference between the two security features is that Safe Browsing will compare a visited site to a locally stored list of domains, compared to Enhanced Safe Browser, which will check if a site is malicious in real-time against Google's cloud services.

While it may seem like Enhanced Safe Browsing is the better way to go, there is a slight trade-off in privacy, as Chrome and Gmail will share URLs with Google to check if they are malicious and temporarily associate this information with your signed-in Google account
Source: Google Gmail continuously nagging to enable Enhanced Safe Browsing

According to Google, this is to tailor protections to your specific situation, and this data is anonymized after a short period of time to protect users. However, according to a study from Princeton and Stanford universities, anonymized data, including search histories, can be linked to social media profiles using publicly available data.

Enhanced Safe Browsing could also hurt developers. If you're a new extension developer, you have to wait for Google to say your product can be trusted. Google requires new developers to follow the developer program policies for a few months before they can be labeled as trusted. This policy could hurt new developers who rely on income from their work, and it could lock out talented developers who can't afford to wait those months.
Source: The Pros and Cons of Google Chrome's Enhanced Safe Browsing Mode

To help protect your account and data, Enhanced Safe Browsing for your account checks for risky:
  • URLs
  • Downloads
  • Browser extensions
  • System information
  • Small sample of pages
  • Uses information from Enhanced Safe Browsing to improve your security in Google Chrome and Gmail when you're signed in.
  • Temporarily associates information from Enhanced Safe Browsing with your Google Account when you’re signed in to help protect you across Google apps.
Google uses this information to help:
  • Provide real-time security scanning to warn you about or block dangerous websites, downloads, and extensions.
  • Improve Google’s ability to detect and protect against phishing and malware for you and everyone on the web.
  • Give you better protection from dangerous links across Google apps.
Help center: Manage Enhanced Safe Browsing for your account - Google Account Help

Is the privacy trade-off worth it?


Level 36
Top Poster
Content Creator
May 13, 2017
One way it protects you is by going through your messages, voice and filtering dangerous content.
One tech reported that it filtered out RT news links sent by a friend from emails and even messages.
By enabling it, you give Google consent to act in your stead. Thus you must agree to it, you just must.

Jonny Quest

Level 17
Top Poster
Mar 2, 2023
So does Kaspersky
Same as with Bitdefender, regarding email.

The real-time protection included in Bitdefender​

Bitdefender Shield, the real-time protection feature included in our security software, provides continuous protection against a wide range of malware threats by scanning all accessed files and e-mail messages. The default real-time protection settings ensure good protection against malware, with a minor impact on system performance. Bitdefender will, for example, scan a Word document for known threats when you open it, and an e-mail message when you receive one.

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