Privacy Options for Using QuickBooks Online with Chrome

By Elaine Marmel

Chrome enables you to control the information you share online, including that which goes into QuickBooks Online. For example, you can change your privacy settings, delete your browsing history, and browse in Incognito mode. To adjust privacy settings, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Chrome Menu → Settings.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the Settings page and click Advanced.
  3. In the Privacy and Security section, click Content Settings.
    From the Content Settings dialog box, you can make a variety of changes. If you don’t see what you’re look for, seek help at Google Support.

Handling cookies

You can control how Chrome handles cookies. In most cases, websites you visit place cookies on your computer for the purpose of recognizing your specific browser/computer combination if you return to the site. Chrome allows cookies by default, because they are typically harmless, but cookies can allow sites to track your navigation during your visit to those sites.

Third-party cookies are cookies placed on your computer by one website for some other website. To increase privacy, most people block third-party cookies. That way, only the website you visit — and not any of its affiliates — knows about you and your browsing habits.

Chrome and JavaScript

You can control whether Chrome runs JavaScript, which web developers often use to make their sites more interactive. If you disable JavaScript, you might find that some sites don’t work properly.

Allowing plug-ins

Plug-ins such as Adobe Flash Player appear on specific websites and are used by website developers to process web content that browsers can’t inherently handle. Chrome allows plug-ins to run by default, and, if you disable this feature, various websites might not function as expected.

Working in Incognito mode

If you work in Incognito mode, you can browse the web without recording a history of the websites you have visited and without storing cookies. Using Incognito mode doesn’t make Chrome more secure; it simply enhances your privacy by preventing Chrome from keeping a record of the sites you have visited during that particular browsing session. Even in Incognito mode, you shouldn’t visit websites that you wouldn’t feel safe viewing in a regular Chrome window.

To use Incognito mode, choose Chrome Menu → New Incognito Window. A new instance of Chrome opens; notice that two buttons for Chrome appear on the Windows taskbar. The new Chrome instance displays an incognito window and the Incognito icon appears in the upper left corner of the browser window, immediately to the left of the New Tab tab.

You use an Incognito window the same way that you use the regular Chrome window; while you work, Chrome doesn’t record a history of the sites you visit nor does Chrome allow sites to store cookies on your computer.

To stop browsing incognito, you must close the instance of Chrome that’s running incognito.

Deleting browsing history

Like all browsers, if you work in a regular Chrome window (rather than an Incognito window), Chrome keeps track of the websites you have visited during each browsing session. Browsers save your browsing history, among other reasons, to decrease the time you wait to see a web page that you have previously visited. And browser history can help you return to a website you visited previously even though you can’t remember the website’s address.

To view your browsing history, choose Chrome Menu → History → History. A page similar to the one below appears; your browsing history is organized by date and time, with the most recent sites you visited appearing first. You can click any entry to redisplay that web page.

browsing history Chrome
Use your browsing history to revisit a web page you visited previously.

You also can delete all or only part of your browsing history, typically to maintain your privacy. To clear selected sites, click the check box beside each site; the number of sites you select appears in a bar across the top of the Chrome History page. To delete the selected sites, click Delete at the right end of the bar.

To clear all (or selected portions) of your browsing history, click the Clear Browsing Data link on the left side of the Chrome History page. The dialog box appears; you can choose the type of data you want to delete and the time frame over which to delete that data.

delete browsing history CHrome
Use this dialog box to delete browsing history.

If you delete all your cookies, you might need to reidentify yourself at websites where you were previously “known,” such as your bank’s website. The process involves getting a code from the website and entering it, typically along with your password at that site, so that you can verify that you are, indeed, the user the website thinks you are.

Reviewing miscellaneous privacy settings

In addition to the settings previously described, you can control the way Chrome handles the following situations; the following list describes Chrome’s default behavior:

  • Chrome asks for permission whenever a website wants to use your location information.
  • Chrome asks for permission whenever a site wants to automatically show notifications on your computer desktop.
  • Chrome asks for permission whenever sites or apps such as games want to disable your mouse pointer.
  • Chrome asks for permission whenever websites request access to your computer’s camera and microphone.
  • Chrome asks for permission if a website wants to bypass Chrome’s sandbox technology and directly access your computer.
  • Chrome blocks pop-ups from appearing and cluttering your screen.

To use Chrome (or any browser) effectively with QBO and QBOA, you cannot block all pop-ups. You can take advantage of a tool Intuit offers to optimize your browser for use with QBO and QBOA. Visit https://fixit.intuit.com and follow the prompts on the page.

Using Chrome, you can turn on pop-ups selectively for any website. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose Chrome Menu → Settings.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. In the Privacy and Security section, click the Content Settings button.
  4. On the Content Settings page, scroll down, find, and click Pop-ups.

    The page where you manage pop-up exceptions appears.

  5. Click Add to display the Add a Site dialog box.
  6. Type the address of the site you want to add.
  7. Click Add.
  8. Repeat Steps 5 to 7 for each website on which you want to permit pop-ups.

Using Google tools to manage privacy

Although Google can collect a lot of information about you, you can control just how much information it collects using its privacy management tools. Visit Google’s My Account page; from this website, you can, for example, use the Ads Settings to log in to your Google account and adjust the ads Chrome shows you.