New Chrome plugin reveals what you’re worth to Facebook, Google

New Chrome plugin reveals what you're worth to Facebook, Google

Every so often, a new product comes along that’s so great, it makes you angry it didn’t already exist. This morning, that product is PrivacyFix, a free plugin for Chrome that tells you nearly everything you ever wanted to know about how your online activity is being tracked, and fills in your online privacy holes with a click. But that’s not the best part.

Unlike other tracker blocker plugins, like Ghostery or Do Not Track Plus, PrivacyFix provides an estimate of exactly how much revenue you generate for Facebook and Google through your online activities. It’s an insight into the inner workings of the Web’s money machine that few of us have had access to in the past.

privacyfix chrome plugin fbprivacyfix chrome plugin google

According to PrivacyFix, I am worth a whopping $0.51 per year to Facebook — a surprisingly low amount, though I am far from a heavy Facebook user. For Google, that number takes a wild leap up to $1095.17. Other Digital Trends staffers who tested out their PrivacyFix stats showed similar disparity between Facebook’s and Google’s earnings from a single user. Clearly, Google know something about online advertising that Facebook does not.

Of course, these numbers are only estimates, and do not come directly from the companies themselves. Instead, PrivacyFix, created by online privacy company Privacy Choice, has teamed up with stock analyst startup Trefis, which provides the figures.

“It’s a very rough estimate, of course,” said Jim Brock, founder of Privacy Choice, in an email to me this morning. “We included it because it’s important for people to understand that their data has real value. When they use these services, they are exchanging data for value.”

Though Facebook and Google are the only companies for which PrivacyFix gives per-user earnings estimates, Brock says that the company is “very interested in adding additional revenue information whenever we can find it.”

privacyfix chrome plugin healthbar

The decidedly nifty data value estimate feature aside, PrivacyFix’s primary function is to alert you to the porousness of your online privacy in Facebook, Google, and other websites. It automatically analyzes your Facebook privacy settings, and alerts you to areas that are leaking your data. To update your settings to the most secure option, just click “fix.” The same goes for Google.

PrivacyFix also tells you which websites may share your personal data, plus which data brokers and advertising networks have installed tracking cookies on your machine, and provides an equally quick way to shut off the flow of personal data. Finally, PrivacyFix provides an optional “healthbar,” which appears in the top-right corner of your browser at all times, and gives you a visual cue of how much of your personal information is being shared on each website you visit.

While other plugins provide similar services, Brock says that PrivacyFix gives users a number of benefits that competing products do not.

“Three things really distinguish Privacyfix from other privacy tools: it’s super easy to use, it’s comprehensive and it’s balanced because we show you the tradeoffs in the decisions you make,” he said.

To give PrivacyFix a go, click here and install the plugin. (Just remember: It only works for Chrome, at the moment.)

Social Media

Periscope tool adds guests to feeds so streamers can become talk show hosts

Periscope users can now invite viewers to chime into the conversation with more than just the comment tool. By enabling the option to add guests, livestreamers can add guests to the conversation, in audio format only.
Smart Home

OK Google, what else can you do? The best tips and tricks for Google Home

The Home functions in a similar fashion to its main competitor, the Amazon Echo, but has the added benefit of select Google services. Here are few tips to help you make the most of the newfangled device.
Computing

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Computing

Enjoy Windows on a Chromebook with these great tips and tricks

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only software.
Computing

Miss Flash? It's not dead yet. Here's how to enable it in Chrome

Want to know how to enable Flash in Chrome? You need to jump through a couple of hoops but it's far from difficult. Just visit your favorite Flash site and follow these instructions and you'll be enjoying Flash content in no time.
Photography

Crouching, climbing, and creeping, the perfect Instagram shot knows no bounds

Just how far will you go for the perfect Instagram? A recent survey shows just how willing Instagram users -- and Instagram husbands -- are to climb, lie down, embarrass themselves or let their food go cold for the perfect shot.
Social Media

Facebook’s long-promised ‘unsend’ feature arrives. Here’s how to use it

Send a message to the wrong person? Messenger now gives you 10 minutes to take it back. After an update beginning to roll out today, users can now retract messages if they act within the first 10 minutes after sending the message.
Social Media

YouTube boss admits even her own kids gave the ‘Rewind’ video a thumbs down

YouTube's 2018 Rewind video went down like a lead balloon at the end of last year, becoming the most disliked video in its history. And now YouTube's CEO has admitted that even her own kids thought it was pretty darn awful.
Social Media

Snapchat finally recovers from its redesign — so here comes an Android update

Snapchat's drop in users after launching a controversial redesign has finally stagnated. During the fourth quarter and 2018 earnings report, Snapchat shared that the company is rolling out an Android update designed to increase performance.
Social Media

Skype’s new ‘blur background’ feature could help keep you from blushing

Skype's latest feature for desktop lets you blur your background during video calls. The idea is that it keeps you as the focus instead of distracting others with whatever embarrassing things you might have on show behind you.
Social Media

Twitter users are declining but more people are seeing ads every day

Twitter's end-of-the-year report for 2018 is a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that more users are seeing adds daily, the metric the company will focus on moving forward. But the bad news is that monthly active users are…
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Computing

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 
Social Media

LinkedIn finally gets around to launching its own live video tool

Live video is coming to LinkedIn for businesses and individuals on the site. The livestreaming feature is launching in beta in the U.S. before rolling out to the entire community.