If you use Chrome as your Web browser -- and there's a good chance you do -- Google wants to start nagging you about password security.
The company on Wednesday launched the Password Alert Chrome extension, which tells you whenever you type your Google account password into a non-Google site. The idea is to encourage you to use different passwords for your various accounts -- always a good idea. Someone getting access to your Gmail is bad enough, but imagine if they could also dig into your Facebook, Amazon, bank, Paypal and eBay accounts.
Even if you think you keep your password safe, you might be asking for trouble if you use the same one across multiple platforms. That's because security standards can vary from site to site: A major website might do a great job encrypting all of your information, but a smaller vendor, for example, might not have the same resources. So, your password could get exposed if a random website you've made an account on gets hacked -- and then someone could plug it into any website you use.
If you're concerned about the Password Alert extension being yet another service that knows your password, don't be. In a blog post on Google's official page, security engineer Drew Hints and Justin Kosslyn of Google Ideas wrote: "Once you’ve installed and initialized Password Alert, Chrome will remember a 'scrambled' version of your Google Account password. It only remembers this information for security purposes and doesn’t share it with anyone."
You might be surprised at how little concern people show for their online security. Some of the most popular passwords are incredibly weak -- think "123456" or "password." Your security is even more likely to be compromised if you're reusing a super simple password for multiple accounts.