Cleanup Your Facebook and Other Network Profiles with MyPermissions Cleaner

While Facebook’s one-click login button makes it really easy for users to signup for new apps and services, it also makes it ludicrously easy for malicious entities to get their hands on your private info. All they need to do is to create a quiz to lure you into sharing your Facebook profile data.

In a previous article we reviewed Privacyfix, which automatically identifies and highlights security issues in your Facebook and Google settings. One of the threats that Privacyfix identifies is app permissions. However, it doesn’t provide a quick way to withdraw access you have previously granted to various apps. Chances are that over the years you have allowed hundreds of apps to access your Facebook profile. Manually delisting them is likely to take quite a while. Thankfully, there is another browser extension, which can take care of this problem.


MyPermissions Cleaner is a handy extension for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox, which scans your Facebook profile and lists all apps that have access to your Facebook information, and allows you to revoke access to all apps with a single click. Ideally, you will not want to revoke access to all apps. For example, if you are an avid Instagram and Tweekdeck user, it makes sense to let these apps be. Thankfully, MyPermissions allows you to add select apps and services to a whitelist (Trusted Apps) with just a couple of clicks. Once you have whitelisted the apps you need, you can get rid of the rest of them with a single click. However, if you have several hundred apps in your list, then it might be easier to simply revoke permissions for everything and add back the apps that you use as and when required. MyPermissions Cleaner does a good job at exposing exactly what sort of info each app has access to, and allows you to filter apps by their access levels. The only trouble is that the extension doesn’t always work perfectly, and sometimes gets stuck while deleting an app. However, a page refresh generally takes care of the issue.


It’s not just Facebook alone, MyPermissions Cleaner currently also supports Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Dropbox, Foursquare, Instagram, Flickr, AOL, and Windows Live. For each of these services the app works in an identical manner, and offers to cleanup your app permissions. If you have never bothered to look into the apps that have access to you profiles on various networks, go ahead and do it now. Let this be your little end of the year cleaning.

[ Download MyPermissions Cleaner ]

Lock Down Your Facebook and Google Accounts with Privacyfix

Way back in 2010, just as the controversy surrounding Facebook’s Open Graph was exploding, we had reviewed a nifty bookmarklet called ReclaimPrivacy that could automatically scan your Facebook settings and highlight areas of concern. Recently I came across a Firefox and Chrome extension called PrivacyFix, which does the same thing, but better.

As soon as you install the extension, it will scan your currently-logged-in Facebook and Google accounts, as well as your browser cookies to identify privacy threats. Once it finishes scanning, you will see a neat report, which highlights potential areas of concern. Privacyfix explains each of the identified issues, and assists you in fixing them.


Privacy Fix also maintains a database of popular websites that track and retain user data. For websites with an opt-out policy it offers to send a mail requesting to opt-you out. Additionally, it can delete existing tracking cookies, and block tracking cookies from being placed in the future.


Privacyfix is a simple, hassle-free solution that goes a long way towards avoiding accidental privacy breaches on social networks. Both Facebook and Google offer great privacy tools. Unfortunately, they are either difficult to find, or too confusing for most users. By automatically identifying and highlighting potential issues, Privacyfix makes things easier for the user. It’s a tool that even your parents could use with confidence. Go ahead and download it. There is no reason not to.


[ Download Privacyfix ]

Center Align the New Youtube Interface

Google rolled out an updated YouTube layout a couple of days back. The new design makes YouTube more consistent with other Google properties. While the reaction to the new design has been mixed, one aspect of the new YouTube has drawn almost universal ire. YouTube is now left-aligned, much like Google Plus. On high-resolution displays this results in loads of white space on the right of the screen, and makes the YouTube surfing experience extremely jarring.

Fortunately, it’s rather simple to fix this design issue. All you need to do is install the “Youtube Center Aligned” user script. The script works on Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. You can get the installation instructions for Firefox and Opera at To install in Chrome, simply download the userscript, open the extensions manager (Tools –> Extensions), and drag-and-drop the downloaded script onto Chrome. Alternatively you can install the Tampermonkey extension for Chrome, and then install the userscript.


Even with this script, there is a lot of wastage of screen real-estate. My favorite YouTube userscript is Unique Youtube Skin, which automatically resizes the video to make full use of your screen.


[ Hat-tip: Atul Varaskar ]

Collusion from Mozilla Shows How You Are Being Tracked on the Web

The explosion of personalized web has pretty much clobbered online privacy to its death bed. No matter where you go, no matter what you do, someone or the other is tracking your surfing habits. The worst part is that this practice has become so rampant that most of us have come to accept online tracking as standard affair. Mozilla has been trying to tackle the problem of behavioural tracking on the web for quite some time. Couple of years back, it introduced the “Do Not Track” header, which has already been adopted by Internet Explrer, Safari, and Opera. Now, Mozilla has released an experimental add-on to showcase how personal data is being tracked across the web.

Earlier this month, Gary Kovacs, CEO of Mozilla Corporation, unveiled Collusion. Collusion is a Firefox extension that visualizes the spider-web of interaction between websites and third-party trackers that often track you without your explicit permission. Collusion is essentially a reporting tool whose purpose is to make netizens realize just how grave the situation is. Here’s how my Collusion graph after a brief ten minute browsing session involving Techie-Buzz, TechCrunch, Mashable, and BBC.



My Collusion graph is peppered with third-party tracking website that I never explicitly browsed to. Personalized web isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can increase engagement, reduce user frustration, and improve productivity. However, the mad rush of advertisers to track users without their knowledge and permission is something that is deeply worrying. Kovacs very righty remarked that “with every click of the mouse and every touch of the screen, we are like Hansel and Gretel leaving breadcrumbs of our personal information everywhere we travel through the digital woods”.

[ Download Collusion for Firefox ]

Gmelius Extension for Firefox, Chrome and Opera Makes the New Gmail a Bit More Usable

Beginning this week, Google is forcing Gmail users to switch to the new interface. While the new interface looks slick and modern, it suffers from numerous poor design choices that have users up in arms. Some of the issues are fixable with a few settings tweaks. For example, you can use the compact, high-contrast theme to reduce the wastage of space and enhance readability. But for others, there is seemingly no cure.

Thankfully, few users are taking up the challenge themselves, and are trying to make the new Gmail more intuitive through extensions and userstyles. Among the better attempts is Gmelius, which is a free, cross-browser compatible extension that tweaks and refines the new Gmail interface.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the stuff that Gmelius does:

  • It reclaims space by collapsing the Search and Share bar, stripping away the footer, and removing the People widget. Gmelius can also be configured to block all advertisements.
  • It enhances the appearance of Gmail by adding subtle row highlights, and disabling fancy fonts and colors in incoming mails.
  • It makes navigation more intuitive by colorizing the navigation icons and supplementing them with text.
  • It adds an auto-scroll to the top action that can be triggered by clicking on the black Google bar.


Gmelius Gmelius is dead simple to configure, and the tweaks it offers go a long way towards enhancing the new Gmail interface. The new navigations icons drove me nuts for weeks, and even after using the new interface for a several months, I still get confused occasionally. I only wish that I had discovered Gmelius sooner. There’s undoubtedly a lot more stuff that Gmelius could do. For example, it could bring back the reply links beneath every message or re-enable color coding of conversations. However, Gmelius already does enough for me to encourage you to go ahead and install it. It’s currently available for Chrome, Firefox & Opera.

[ Download Gmelius ]

Mozilla’s Prospector Extension for Firefox Guesses Which Website You Want to Browse Next

Speed dials, in one form or the other, has become the norm in modern browsers. Opera invented the feature, and it has since then been adopted by Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer. One browser that has been missing this feature is Firefox. However, that might be about to change.

Mozilla has announced a new Labs initiative called Prospector. Mozilla is attempting to take speed dials to the next level by making it context aware. The Prospector extension adds predictive speed dials, which lists bookmarks and previously visited webpages that it feels are relevant to the webpage you are currently browsing. In short, it tries to guess which website you are most likely to browse next.

Firefox searches both your bookmarks and history for similar websites that you may be interested in based on what you were recently browsing. This is currently displayed along with some experimental statistics such as score (which is how similar the tags are), frequency (which is a measure of frequency and recency) and others.


All the computation required for the predictive speed dial is done locally, and no data is sent out by your browser. Mozilla says that a well maintained and tagged set of bookmarks will help Firefox is throwing up more relevant results; however, it is not essential.

While the idea behind Predictive Newtab is undoubtedly interesting, it’s impossible to say how well it works without testing it for a few days. Opera’s speed dial concept works as well as it does because it is simple. Most people have a dozen websites that they visit really frequently, and Opera allows users to set those websites as speed dials. Chrome tries to do this automatically by relying on frequency count to cull a list of most visited websites. Firefox is trying to rank websites based on frequency and relevance. However, without a well maintained set of tagged bookmarks (or crowdsourcing), determining relevance can be a hard thing. Additional indicators like meta-tags can be considered; however, Firefox doesn’t appear to be doing that. Moreover, relevance often doesn’t have anything to do with the next website that I am likely to browse. The fact that I currently have a Gmail tab open doesn’t necessarily imply that I am going to browse Yahoo Mail or Hotmail next.

You can go ahead and download the Prospector extension from here. Don’t forget to share your experience with the Prospector extension. If Mozilla’s experiment succeeds, then Predictive Newtab could very well show up in future versions of Firefox.

CloudMagic: Search GMail and Google Docs Even Faster

The usage of cloud-based services is increasing every day. Though good search features are offered by Google for Gmail and Google Docs, it is not always as fast as desktop search. Also unified search results across multiple services are not provided. CloudMagic was developed with these requirements in mind. It offers extremely fast, offline, search-as-you-type feature for online data.

CloudMagic has been launched with Gmail and Google Docs. CloudMagic can search across multiple Google accounts for presentations, spreadsheets, documents etc., and present a unified search result. It also offers instant email message previews as well as drag-and-drop feature for search results.

Online data is indexed and stored in your local hard disk. Relevant text data is indexed leaving out all kinds of attachments and binary data. Only a fraction of the entire data is indexed. So it occupies very little of your hard disk space. The index gets updated automatically when you are online. The indexed web pages need not be kept open for updating an index. You do not need to store passwords with any third party servers because the index is stored in your local hard disk.

Currently CloudMagic is available for Firefox and Chrome. Here are the installation instructions for both the browsers.

Installation on Mozilla Firefox

1. To install CloudMagic in Firefox click Tools > Add-ons in the menu bar to open the Add-ons window and search for CloudMagic.


2. Click on the Add to Firefoxbutton. The following license agreement window is displayed.


3. Click Accept and Installbutton .Then click on Install Now in the Add-ons window. Once the installation is complete, restart Firefox. The CloudMagic icon will appear in the toolbar as shown below. Click on it to open the CloudMagic page in a new tab.



Installation on Google Chrome

1. To Install the plugin in Chrome open Cloudmagic homepage in Chrome and click the Install Now button.


2. Once the plugin download is complete, click Install as you are prompted to.

3. When the installation is complete the CloudMagic icon is displayed in Chrome.


4. To use CloudMagic you need to add your Gmail accounts first. Click on CloudMagic icon and then select Manage Accounts drop down arrow beside the search box.


5. In the following page, one more click brings you the add account page.

6. Add as many Google accounts you wish.


7. Next click on the Preferences link to set the search preferences. You are now all set to use CloudMagic.


The next time you open your GMail or Google Docs account you find a CloudMagic search box as shown in the screenshot below.


Isn’t that great? If you are power user of Google docs and Gmail, CloudMagic is an indispensable tool. Try once and you’ll love the instant search that the tool provides. With tons of emails stuffed in your mail this certainly makes your life easier. Happy searching. Do let us know if this has made your search experience better.

Facebook and Twitter are Easy to Hack on Public Wifi

Have you ever used your Facebook or Twitter accounts on a public wifi? The next time you do, you’d better be prepared. It’s now easier than ever to hack into online accounts on unsecured wifi networks. I found out by reading an article recommended by Linda Lawrey.

How is this possible?

firesheep-logoThere’s a new Firefox addon called FireSheep. This new addon makes it very easy to hack into many online services, such as Facebook and Twitter. However, it only works on unsecured networks, like most public wifi hotspots. It can also be defeated by using other methods that I’ll mention below.

Here’s a quick video showing how easy it is to capture accounts using Firesheep.

Wifi Safety Tips:

I don’t think you need to take the video’s advice and stop using public wifi. You just need to be more aware of the danger. If you always use HTTPS (Secure logins) when you sign onto a website, you’ll be able to defeat the majority of attacks like these. Look for a lock in your web browser’s address bar before you login.

Below are links to plugins for Firefox and Chrome that can help you stay secured while surfing.

Firefox browser

arrow-down-double-3 Force-TLS or HTTPS Everywhere

Google Chrome browser

arrow-down-double-3 KB SSL enforcer


Be careful when using public or unsecured wifi hotspots. Always use HTTPS whenever possible. Another good method is to use VPN tunneling. There are some good tips from Ask-Leo for staying safe on public wifi.

Popular Bookmark Syncing Tool Xmarks is Shutting Down

XmarksIn a move that will definitely surprise a lot of people, Xmarks – the popular bookmark synchronization tool, has announced that it will be shutting down in approximately 3 months.

Xmarks, which started off as a Firefox extension called Foxmarks, offered free cloud based bookmark synchronization for Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer. In spite of the introduction of out of the box bookmark synchronization to recent versions of Firefox and Chrome, Xmarks managed to remain wildly popular due to its ability to cross-sync bookmarks among different browsers.

Earlier today, in a lengthy blog post, Todd Agulnick, the Co-Founder and CTO of Xmarks, explored the events that ultimately led to the demise of Xmarks.

By Spring 2010, with money running tight and options fading, we started searching for potential buyers of the company. Over the past three months, we have been remarkably close to striking a deal, only to have the potential buyer get cold feet. We also considered refocusing Xmarks as a freemium sync business, but the prospects there are grim too: with the emergence of competent sync features built in to Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, it’s hard to see users paying for a service that they can now get for free. For four years we have offered the synchronization service for no charge, predicated on the hypothesis that a business model would emerge to support the free service. With that investment thesis thwarted, there is no way to pay expenses, primarily salary and hosting costs. Without the resources to keep the service going, we must shut it down. Our plan is to keep the service running for another 90+ days, after which the plug will be pulled.

There’s nothing unusual about startups collapsing due to the lack of a viable user model. Yet, one can’t help feeling sorry for Xmarks, simply because it was a damn useful service. It’s a pity that they decided to fold even without trying the freemium model.

Safe Surfing and Email with Web of Trust

wot-icon[Windows, Mac, Linux] Web of Trust (WOT) is an addon or extension that identifies risky or dangerous links and websites while you are using your web browser. This addon is available for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers. There is also a bookmarklet for Browsers such as Opera and Safari.

Here’s what the WOT website says about their product:

Protect yourself from online scams, sites with adult content, spam and other Internet threats. The WOT community has rated millions of websites so you can search, shop online and surf for fun without worrying.

When the WOT addon is installed in a web browser, it displays safety information about web sites in two different ways.

First, there will be a WOT icon at the top of the browser next to the address bar. It will be colored green, yellow or red to show you the general rating of the web page you are currently viewing.


If you click on this icon, you’ll be able to see more details about the ratings.


The detailed ratings are broken down into four categories: Trustworthiness, Vendor Reliability, Privacy and Child Safety. As you can see, Techie Buzz is a winner in all four areas.

The second way that WOT displays it’s ratings is while you are searching at one of the popular web search engines. Ratings are shown for Google, Yahoo, Ask, Bing and Froogle.


As you can see, there is a colored icon next to each search result. Clicking on the icons there also gives you more detailed information about each site. You won’t have to worry if it’s safe to click on search results once you have WOT installed.

Some online email services are also covered by the link identification from WOT. Here’s what my Gmail looks like in Firefox. This also seems to work in Yahoo Mail, Live Mail and AOL Mail.


The WOT addon will make your online email far safer to use.


Download the WOT addons for Firefox, IE and Chrome

The WOT Bookmarklet for Opera and Safari

For those who don’t wish to install anything at all in their browser, I’ve found an online search engine which uses WOT to rate the search results.

Safe Search:

Try SurfCanyon’s WOT Search

Techie Buzz Verdict:

There are several other services that offer similar addons or toolbars to make surfing more safe. WOT is my favorite and it supports the widest range of web browsers.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5