Saturday February 24, 2024

Google Chrome Web Browser - Voluntary Spyware?
  Posted by: AceBHound on Sep 5th, 2008 7:47 AM
Google just released Google Chrome, a web browser that has some pretty amazingly good ideas built into it. The most notable are that it runs tabbed windows under separate processes so if a webpage crashes it doesn't take down the entire browser -- and a more powerful JavaScript engine dubbed V8. They are making the code open source and inviting the community to get involved in changing the web as we know it.

You can check out some of the features of the browser or read up on why Google decided to write a web browser (excerpt below).

Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today's complex web applications much better . By keeping each tab in an isolated "sandbox", we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built V8, a more powerful JavaScript engine, to power the next generation of web applications that aren't even possible in today's browsers.

Still, as much as I love Google's innovation and seemingly charitable contributions to the internet.. I still view the company's offerings with a skeptical eye. If Mozilla had just released a Firefox version that ran separate processes for each tab, I wouldn't even blink at the chance to download the new browser. With Google, there always seems to be some "catch" and since they are known for data mining the catch is usually loss of privacy.

Essentially you are voluntarily allowing Google to spy on your usage habits any time you use their search engine, desktop search, toolbar, web browser, mail service, etc. It's in the terms of service and is totally acceptable since you are agreeing that in using their product(s) they can collect information. Google just keeps finding new ways of collecting more information from us.

Don't get me wrong, I think Google's a great company and has seriously helped shape the web over their first 10 years and they'll continue to do so. But I'm not going to use a Google phone with a Google Mobile OS to check my Google Mail.. and go home to search Google with a Google Web Browser and download files for Google Desktop to index, all while not thinking about my lack of privacy and data being mined by a single company.

That being said, I am hoping some of Google's ideas are adopted by the greater good and we start seeing browsers pay more attention to where the web is going with the blend of web applications and desktop applications. You can be certain that if Google's Chrome Browser is adopted as quickly as Firefox was, the competition will listen.

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