Nov 072012
 

Chrome 23 makes it easier to set and manage permissions for individual websites. We reviewed the changes and new features of Chrome 23 earlier today – one of the new features is the addition of site specific website permissions.

These make it easier to view and control any website’s permissions for capabilities such as geolocation, pop-ups, and camera/microphone access – there is now no need to navigate through Chrome Settings to change them for a website (although they are still present there).

Easily change website permissions per site – In Chrome 23 or later, simply click on the page icon (or lock icon for https secure sites) to the left of a website’s address in the Omnibox to display a list of permissions and site data. You will see the number of cookies and other site data (local storage, saved on your computer by the site) and the current permissions for that site.

[The default site settings are taken from Chrome’s global permissions as configured in Chrome Privacy Settings – see the section on Chrome Settings below]

You can tweak each of these settings and site data as you wish e.g. to change Images to ‘always allow’ or ‘always block’ for this site. These site specific permissions are remembered and take priority over the default global ones. To change back the permissions for a particular website just repeat the same process – or see how to manage exceptions in the section on Chrome Privacy Settings.

chrome23perm1

Changing website permissions

The settings available to change are:

  • Cookies and site data – files created by websites you’ve visited to store browsing information, such as your site preferences or profile information. Be careful if disabling as it could break the functionality of many sites (especially shopping sites)
  • Images – e.g. block images to make a site load quicker
  • JavaScript – commonly used by web developers to make their sites more interactive. Be careful if disabling as it could break the functionality of many sites e.g. JavaScript may be used to check that you have filled in all the required information in a web form or that the zip code you’ve typed in is complete
  • Plugins – these add functionality to websites that Chrome alone does not support. They may include built-in plugins like Chrome’s PDF Viewer and PepperFlash or 3rd party plugins like Java or Adobe Flash Player
  • Popups – usually recommended to leave disabled to avoid annoying/malicious popup adverts and webpages
  • Location – enabling this setting may let websites track your physical location
  • Notifications – enabling this setting may allow websites to show notifications on your desktop e.g. Google Calendar
  • Full Screen – enabling this setting may allow websites to make Chrome appear in full screen
  • Mouse Lock – enabling this setting may allow websites to disable the mouse cursor (required by some apps such as web based games)
  • Media – sites with media functionality, such as video conferencing, can request access to your camera and microphone.
    Note: there appears to be an error in Chrome 23 with the Media permission – it displays the global default (taken from the ‘Media’ option in Chrome Privacy Settings) but won’t let you change it…

Change via Chrome Privacy Settings – Chrome still includes the ability to manage website permissions via ‘Settings’ if you prefer:

–  Click the Menu in top right of Chrome and select ‘Settings’. On the Settings page, click the ‘+Show advanced settings’ link at the bottom of the page to display advanced settings.

–  In the Privacy section, click the ‘Content settings…’ box to open the website Content Settings window as shown below:

chrome23perm2

–  Here you can change the global defaults for all websites or manage exceptions. Exceptions can be added manually or they may be existing exceptions that you configured for an individual website via the new website permissions feature reviewed above.

Note: Content Settings includes a ‘Flash Camera and microphone’ setting if you have the standalone Adobe Flash Player plugin installed – as well as the ‘Media’ setting which also covers access by a site to your camera and microphone. Only the ‘Media’ setting appears in the new website permissions feature reviewed above – but you can’t change it there.

Conclusion

Chrome 23 makes it easier to set and manage permissions for individual websites – but you can still configure global settings or create exceptions via the Settings menu.

At the time of writing there appears to be a bug with the Media setting – the new manager doesn’t let you change it.