It is quite difficult to keep an overview over extension and app permissions in the Chrome browser, especially if you have installed several.
While you can look up permissions of individual extensions by opening chrome://extensions and clicking on the permissions link next to each extension, it is not really helpful if you want a quick overview of all apps or extensions installed in the browser.
The brand new Privacy Guard extension comes to the rescue. It assigns risk categories to each app and extension that you have installed in Chrome which makes it a lot easier to get an overview.
Once you have installed the extension -- it requires access to your data on chrome.google.com and permissions to manage your apps, extensions and themes -- you can load the assessment with a click on the extension icon in the Chrome interface.
It displays only extensions by default, which it sorts into high, medium and low risk categories. All installed extensions are assigned to a category, so that you can get an overview easily with a total of two clicks.
Each extension is listed with all of its permissions and that is about it. Apart from the rating itself, it is up to you to interpret the results.
This can be easy at times if an extension requested permissions that it does not really need, or not as easy if you are not sure what individual permissions do.
You can use this support page on the Google Support website for information about the permissions listed there.
If an extension requests lots of permissions, like the Speed Dial 2 extension on the screenshot above, you may want to search for an alternative instead that requests less permissions but offers a similar functionality.
This may not be possible all the time, and if you consider an extension essential, you may decide to keep it enabled in Chrome despite the permissions that it has.
You can enable the scanning of apps with a click on the apps check box in the Privacy Guard interface. This adds all installed apps to the risk categories so that you can check them out as well.
A search filter is available that you can use to find specific extensions or apps. You can search by name for example, or author.
The developer plans to add an option to Privacy Guard in the near future that will highlight app publisher changes. This is one of the most requested features in light of recent extension acquisitions which have later been turned into adware.
Privacy Guard is a useful extension for Chrome that you can use as a one-time extension right now to check up on all extension and app permissions in your version of Chrome. Once ownership change notifications are implemented, it may even make sense to have it installed and running at all times in the browser.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.