Google’s New IP Protection Feature Obfuscates Users’ IP Addresses

Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross Senior Writer
Tyler Cross Tyler Cross Senior Writer

Google is testing its new feature, IP Protection, which obfuscates users’ IP addresses to help them maintain privacy from third-party trackers.

This feature was originally proposed several years ago, under the name Gnawcatcher. The original idea was to get away from third-party cookies and trackers entirely. Gnawcatcher was going to block the collection of cookies and your IP address entirely, so you can’t be tracked by anyone.

However, as the development of the feature went on, they discovered a major problem. Websites had good reason to collect IP addresses, whether to help prevent fraud, collect consumer data to improve the website, or for legitimate third-party use (not sold to advertisers).

Google wouldn’t be able to simply uproot how websites process information without serious considerations.

In the end, they decided on the IP Protection feature, which is completely opt-in.

“Chrome is reintroducing a proposal to protect users against cross-site tracking via IP addresses. This proposal is a privacy proxy that anonymizes IP addresses for qualifying traffic,” says Google.

IP Protection routes your traffic through proxy servers to obscure your IP address from third-parties — it’s very similar to a VPN.

During its early stages of development, IP Protection will only obscure the IP address of users while on certain websites that Google has marked as likely tracking your data.

While this tool may not be as secure as a standalone VPN, it is a significant boost in Chrome user’s online privacy.

Google also plans to expand on the feature a lot over time, including the inclusion of double-hop proxy servers to route your information through two proxy servers at the same time.

“IP Protection will evolve and broaden over time in conjunction with ecosystem changes to continue to protect users’ privacy from cross-site tracking,” Google explains in a recent post.

The full version isn’t expected until sometime between Chrome version 119 and 225.

About the Author
Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross
Senior Writer

About the Author

Tyler is a writer at SafetyDetectives with a passion for researching all things tech and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the SafetyDetectives team, he worked with cybersecurity products hands-on for more than five years, including password managers, antiviruses, and VPNs and learned everything about their use cases and function. When he isn't working as a "SafetyDetective", he enjoys studying history, researching investment opportunities, writing novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends."

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