Disconnect – Plugin To A Faster, Safer Browsing Experience
At times, the Internet is just plain annoying. Let me count the ways: slow loading speeds, cluttered Web design full of advertisements, plugins which track your data without your knowledge, social widgets that nag you with notifications and worst of all, malware!
Let’s better manage these nuisances in our online life with Disconnect.
Disconnect is an open-source extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox which can be used not only to speed up your Web browsing but also make it safe, secure and private. It looks nice, has great features and doesn’t really have a price tag: feel free to pay for what you think it is worth.
Recommended Reading: Useful Google Chrome Extensions for Web Designers
Upon installing Disconnect, a new toolbar button will appear on your Chrome browser. The button will display a small green box which shows you the total number of tracking requests on every single page you go to, something like this:
Websites do more than what you just see it as doing, they track you, your browsing history, your physical location, etc. You can view what each website is doing by clicking on the Disconnect button and viewing a list of all the current activities coming from the website either to or from other websites.
Green means the requests are blocked. Gray means they’re unblocked. You may click any icon or checkbox to block or unblock requests.
Disconnect also features an alternative viewing experience from the default ‘list’ view that is, the visualization view or page.
The visualization view gives you simple explanation of how that particular website is linked to other websites or services in the form of a visual graph of the websites.
Other small features of Disconnect includes the ‘Secure Wi-Fi checkbox’, which lets you prevent wireless eavesdropping by forcing sites to encrypt your data whenever possible; and also the dashboard which shows you Disconnect’s effect on the page you’re on - the time and bandwidth you saved and the number of Wi-Fi requests you secured.
Should You Try It?
You need to be careful about tools that say they can speed up your browsing and protect your privacy. Disconnect has many advantages and better features over the competition, some of which are not actually that safe.
Here’s a list of its advantages:
- Detailed and organized list view for easy reading.
- Visualization page: A simple graph that shows you which websites are taking and sending information.
- Statistics of the time you saved, bandwidth saved and requests that it secured.
- The ability to whitelist/blacklist websites and web apps.
- The counter box overlay showing you the total number of tracking requests on every single page you go to.
- Common tracking sites – Facebook, Google, and Twitter – are shown separately to make them easy to block or unblock. Click any icon to block or unblock a site.
Granted it has its flaws, one of which is there isn’t a way to view the settings or statistics on a full page instead of only in dropdown. The makers claim that Disconnect will speed up your connection by 27% which, but most of the time it is a little below 27%, but it isn’t that big of a deal.
Overall, Disconnect is a great way to protect your online accounts, your computer, your privacy and also prevents against certain malware. So is Disconnect everything they say it is? Simply put, yes it is.