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Sometimes, I paste some data in a Chrome tab address bar as a temporary storage. It usually happens when I want to save more then one thing in the clipboard. It's handy because I am always with Chrome opened and the bar has some nice "features" as striping off any formatting the data had had from its source.

I also do that trick with sensitive data such as a password I am copying from a password generator.

I never pressed ENTER while the information stood on the bar, so I thought I was safe. But now I've just realized that these bars are not exactly "neutral". For example, the search suggestions feature probably reads the data I typed there and sends it to Google servers, even before I pressed ENTER.

Does someone with more knowledge on Chromium project know how private is data typed in a address bar before one presses ENTER?

  • I'd be afraid even of the risk of accidentally hitting enter. You are trying to (ab)use a highly complex and security-relevant software for unintended purposes. Why not use the standard no-frills editor of your OS (e.g., for Windows: notepad) as extended clipboard instead? – Hagen von Eitzen Nov 18 '18 at 23:23
  • Agreeing that using your OS’s plain text editor is a good alternative. Though using Firefox instead of Chrome, and having disabled search suggestions, what you did here should be safe, shouldn’t it? That’s because Firefox doesn’t send as much data as Chrome does and as far as I am informed, it doesn’t send any information unless search suggestions are enabled. – caw Nov 20 '18 at 1:55
  • @caw I think the question is not necessarily whether or not using your address is bar is safe, but if it is considered a best security practice. I would not suggest using anything for private data such as passwords when that is not the intended use and you have no control over it. – Kevin Voorn Nov 20 '18 at 14:56
  • @KevinVoorn I don’t think the question is whether using the address bar for this is a best practice. That’s because the answer to this is obvious: it’s not a best practice, simply because it’s an address bar, not a clipboard bar. I think we all know that when using your OS’s text editor application or a dedicated clipboard manager, data is less likely to be sent to a third party – quite unlikely even. Still, using the address bar, there should be ways to make it safe, with some small risk remaining. – caw Nov 20 '18 at 20:31
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I think you answered your own question:

But now I've just realized that these bars are not exactly "neutral". For example, the search suggestions feature probably reads the data I typed there and sends it to Google servers, even before I pressed ENTER.

I would not consider your address bar secure or private. Google Chrome will send your address bar searches to your default search engine and you’ll see suggestions as you type. There is another risk when you might actually press enter by accident or that someone else sees your password in plain text. If you type a web address wrong—Chrome will send the address of the page to Google as well (so Google can suggest similar addresses you may have meant to type).

I would suggest you use a other tools such as a clipboard manager to mimic the same trick more securely. Please note I do not know which clipboard managers are actually secure, you would have to research this yourself.

Please note you can disable the prediction service and navigation service mentioned above within your browser, but I don't believe you can fully trust your URL bar to be secure and private.

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