Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Google Chrome... Invasive?

I downloaded the latest version of Google Chrome today. Mainly I wanted to check out the cross-browser compatibility of my latest peice of JavaScript, but I guess also partly I was looking forward to checking out this browser offering.

On the surface, Google Chrome is everything anyone would want from a browser. Looks slick, works fast and has a "new take" on browsing. Yes, its nothing new really, just rather like launching IE in lots of seperate processes (perfectly possibly), but its well done and transparent to the user and the pre-compiled JavaEngine is great!

However, under the covers it appears a sinister spider lurks reporting on ones every action. Type something wrong in the address bar and sends it to google (of course Microsoft have done this, but at least in IE turning it off is straight forward) . Infact, whatever you seem to do with Chrome (even ordinary browsing), it seems to stay in constant touch with Google (or at least it talks to IP addresses completely unrelated to ones immidiate activities). This kind of behaviour frankly pisses me right off, whatever its doing, its not asked me if its ok. I've blocked Chrome to everything but the localhost whilst I check my scripts work alright in its environment (before I did that it was contacting Google [or some IP unknown internet IP] even working exclusively with offline (Intranet) content! Shameful (i'm actually a little worried whether its actually submitted me "private" and "copyright" scripts to Google when I tried out the developer tools).

I guess Microsoft have kind of been doing similar stuff with their "Microsoft Live" suite, but at least its quite clear from that title it is likely to be happening. Google seem to be moving markedly away from their roots these days and are being tarred by some of the same failings of the crowd (which is a real shame because Google's strength has been in its "honesty" and genuine service). Still, Google has not completely gone over to the dark side and its still my favourite and chosen search engine. I just hope they don't get sucked into the corporate money trap.

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