Reflections in the Chrome.

Town Crier IconSo I’ve been mulling over the idea of Google’s Chrome for a few days and it got me thinking… What’s in it for Google? Browsers are free… and I’m sure a good portion of the company spirit is altruistic… building a better browser, speeding things up, isolating crashes, etc… but be assured, altruism is in the minority. Google is a publicly traded mega corporation that makes money by connecting advertisers much more specifically to their demographic… how better to get a picture of your personal interests and desires then by tapping into your web browser?

Sho’ nuff… there was the always predictable outcry… the feature “Google Suggest” was what folks took particular offense to… so Google posted this to their blog yesterday (09/08) announcing that the 2% of user entries to the OmniBox that are sent back and logged by Google servers daily… will be anonymized within 24 hours…

But what does that mean?

What’s fair game on that data in the interim?

And how do we know for sure that Google will be doing what they say they’ll be doing?

The thing that has me wondering is the “Cookies” paragraph in the Google privacy policy. It reads;

When you visit Google, we send one or more cookies – a small file containing a string of characters – to your computer that uniquely identifies your browser. We use cookies to improve the quality of our service by storing user preferences and tracking user trends, such as how people search. Google also uses cookies in its advertising services to help advertisers and publishers serve and manage ads across the web. We may set a cookie in your browser when you visit a website and view or click on an ad supported by Google’s advertising services.

Some parts are little ambiguous no? Truth is, if you use Chrome you’re taking the chance that Google knows every URL you type into the OmniBox… every partial URL too… every word or phrase you search for is fair game as well… What’s worse is that if you have a Google account (whether for Chrome or any other Google service), all this information will be tied back to your user account because Google sends your cookie along with every automatic search it performs.

Unfortunately, the internet has become a place where if you want to use it… you’re gonna be giving up some, most or all of your privacy… and I guess the bright side is that if I’m going to get bombarded with advertising anyway… it might as well be advertising for stuff I’m interested in. One way or another, Google’s privacy policy was an eye opening read.

I encourage any of you who have an opinion on this to post a comment…


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