Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge include options to improve the web browser’s basic spell-checking functionality.
Improved spell checking in Chrome and Microsoft’s Edge editor are designed to improve spell checking even further, but they do so by moving pretty much anything users type in fields to the company’s servers.
Chrome users find the improved spell checking feature on the Languages settings page. It can be accessed by loading chrome://settings/languages in the browser address bar, or by selecting Menu > Settings > Languages.
Once enabled, Chrome uses the same spelling checker that Google Search does. Google notes that text that users type after enabling the feature is sent to Google.
Similarly, when users enable Microsoft Editor in the Edge browser, they improve spelling but their typed data is sent to Microsoft as a result. Microsoft does not state that written data is sent to the company’s servers when Microsoft Editor is enabled.
Josh Summitt posted his findings about the improved spelling checker functionality on otto-js company blog.
Summitt detected that the browser was sending almost any typed data automatically after enabling enhanced spell checking features; This included usernames, email addresses, and anything written as comments or on forms.
Passwords are not sent by default, but when users use the “Show password” option on websites, they are sent automatically. The passwords are then sent to third-party servers along with other information.
It takes one click to enable the enhanced functionality. Google informs users about sending typed data, while Microsoft does not in Edge. Sumit notes that home and enterprise users are equally affected.
The Spell video demonstrates how organizations can inadvertently disclose information about a company’s cloud infrastructure, including servers, databases, corporate email accounts, and password managers, to Google or Microsoft.
Chrome and Edge users may want to make sure that enhanced features are not enabled in their browsers. It is unclear how the data is processed, how it is used and whether or not it is stored.
How to disable the enhanced spell checker in Chrome
- Load chrome://settings/languages in your browser address bar or go to Menu > Settings > Languages.
- Locate the Spelling Preferences group on the page.
- Make sure Basic Spell Checking is enabled, or Check spelling when typing text on web pages is turned off completely.
How to disable Microsoft Editor in Microsoft Edge
- Load edge://settings/languages in the Microsoft Edge address bar, or go to Menu > Settings > Languages.
- Locate the Use Writing Assistance options set on the page.
- Make sure Basic is selected, or Use Write Assist is turned off completely.
Enhanced Spelling is a useful feature that promises to find spelling and grammar issues that basic spelling cannot detect. The improvement comes at the expense of sending data to the cloud. Given that anything that is typed, except for passwords, is sent automatically, most Internet users may want to disable the functionality.
Now you: Do you use spell checking in your browser? (Across sleeping computer)
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