Google Chrome Receives Heavy Criticism in Germany

By | September 9, 2008 | 12 Comments

Google Chrome Receives Heavy Criticism in GermanyGermany’s oldest and perhaps biggest prime time news Tagesschau announced the following under the headline “Warning against internet browser”*:

The Federal Office for Information Security warned internet users of the new browser Chrome. The application by the company Google should not be used for surfing the internet, as a spokesperson for the office told the Berliner Zeitung. It was said to be problematic that Chrome was distributed as an unfinished advance version. Furthermore it was said to be risky that user data is hoarded with a single vendor. With its search engine, email program and the new browser, Google now covers all important areas on the internet.

Source: Blogoscoped


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Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded FavBrowser.com. Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.

  • K3M15A

    Any details on what and how much if it is stored by google? How sensitive does the information get that google is storing for chrome?

  • Alex K

    I think they collect everything what they can. heh

  • http://www.puresimple.net Bernardo

    You know what’s funny? Google is actually the most advanced search engine in terms of privacy. They have now made it that your data is made anonymous after 24 hours – WAY ahead of other search engines!!!
    I’m so sick of hearing uninformed criticism. Feel free to criticize them for things they do badly, but they are way ahead of other search engines in terms of privacy. Information is ONLY stored if you use Google as your primary search engine – and then it’s what you search. Every search engine does this…
    They store your IP for 24 hours. Only.

    They also cut down the storage of other information from 18 months to 9 months – again, way ahead.

    If you want to be informed about what they’re doing, and privacy, try reading their blog. They tell you directly what they’re doing.

    So, one more time: if you don’t want any information sent off through the browser, switch your main search engine and auto suggestions. You can get yahoo search or live search to log your searches instead :P

  • Colin

    Of course it’s an “unfinished advance version”… It’s a Beta! It’s true that it’s not a beta in the same sense that Google Mail is a beta, most people would consider Google Mail to be a full product, but the same advice should generally be given to any user of beta software.

    That is to say: It’s not to be used for surfing the internet, it’s to be used if you want to help them test it. If there’s any question that they add something that lets them hoard my information: I’ll download the Chromium source code, compile it myself after removing the undesired functions, and consider using that.

    It’s not like I’m going to need to do that, however. If google start including true ‘badware’ then I expect that, before I would hear about it, there’d be a sourceforge project set-up and a downloadable version with the badware removed to be made available.

    If people are going to start crying about things coming from a single vendor then they should be fair and issue a similar warning to people using IE, Live search, and Live mail. I trust google far more than I trust MS, you can’t warn against one without giving a fair warning against the other.

  • K3M15A

    Maybe but i am sure i read somewhere that google promised to do no evil (may not be the exact words).

    If they are holding such private information then regardless of the app being beta regardless of you trusting them more than Microsoft, people do have a right to be concerned about how much of their activities is being tracked/monitored.

    Sure you can say that there is always “Incognito”, but it’s not up front on the UI, and most people only use the features that are right in front of them.

  • Colin

    Yes, IIRC “Don’t be evil” was one of the tenets of google when it was created. It strikes me that declaring that wasn’t the best idea, however. Nowadays every time google does /anything/: people accuse them of being evil for doing it. They do this despite the fact that they’ve not really done anything genuinely evil and the fact that they have about the best record of any search engine company for respecting a user’s privacy.

    People should remember that collecting data is not evil in and of itself. Potentially abusable? Maybe, but have google abused this information to date? Even when they’ve been subpoenaed, they’ve fought long and hard to not release data. Other search engines like Yahoo, AOL, and MSN turned data over pretty-much straight away (IIRC: Yahoo and AOL made the data anonymous, whilst MSN turned-over everything). Considering that, you might understand why I trust Google more than I trust MSN or other engines. Google will fight in court, at a heavy cost to them, to keep data secure whilst the others hand-over data straight away.

    Data is sent to google when search terms are typed into the “Omnibox”. In this case, I would agree that the data sent is a bit more than I’d prefer. It’s notable that this data is to be made anonymous after only 24 hours, however. They’ve also just cut the period they hold search data for, from 18 to 9 months, meaning that AFAIK they hold the personal information for a shorter time than any of the other major 3 search engines ATM.

  • problem

    problem is, that these 24hour/9months periods are what Google have SAID. do you believe them?

  • Colin

    If you’re gonna be that paranoid, do you believe any of the search companies? If you don’t, you may as well just stop using the web because EVERY WEB PAGE YOU ACCESS could be collecting information, and most of them don’t even promise to have deleted anything before the end of time. If you just don’t believe that google would make the data anonymous, whilst M$ or Yahoo would have, then I’d ask you what you have against google.

    Google can still use the data to some extent, even if it’s made anonymous. They’ll probably have kept the first half of the IP address, search term, and browser string whilst deleting the cookie ID and second half of the IP address. They still have a bit of data, but can’t link it to you.

    Anyway, this discussion seems to be deviating to talking about the company and not the browser. Google open-sourced Chrome. That means that if they put something undesirable in, it could be seen and can be removed/neutered. If you’re not going to trust google, then at-least trust the open-source community.

  • problem

    their server-side logic and data mining algorithms are not open source. chrome is there only to make sure, that you cant delete your cookies to easily (is there an option to delete them on the end of a session? because I cant see it. and if one has to choose: no cookies-> no functioning web, or all cookies-> functioning web choice is obvious).

    and dont try to play devil’s advocate, I’ve never said I trust MS or Yahoo. difference is, that they dont try to persuade me, that they are going to volounterely let down their money making tools just because they dont want to do ‘evil’. I happen to know TOO much about data mining and I know, that giving out for free relatively usefull (but with no revolution in fact) tools that ask you to put into 3rd party’ harddrive your most valuable personal data (financial, medical, social, hard-identity data etc) was a masterpiece. you wouldnt have told that data to your co-worker (what illnesses you have, how much you earn and who are you dating), but people are wilingly feed that data to Google. chrome is another step.

  • Colin

    Lol. Your argument is getting a bit far-fetched if you’re seriously trying to assert that a function missing will never be present. I don’t use it as my main browser, and haven’t seriously considered it, because there are lots of functions I want in a browser that aren’t in chrome yet. Would you assert that, because there is no option to add words to the dictionary in chrome at present, it will never be possible to add words to the dictionary?

    Not sure exactly what you’re talking about with the personal data thing. I do admit that I use Gmail. This, as with almost any email system, will probably accrue personal information over time. I use it largely because it’s a vast improvement on my old hotmail account which was for some odd reason impossible to sort or search properly (I made a new hotmail account and it was searchable normally, seemed my one was just stupid, although Gmail’s search was better).

    I’ll happily load chrome every once in a while, sending them feedback if I find something broken. I do tend to check my mail in Chrome, I figure that it’s a bit faster and that if they’re going to be evil then they have my mail already. If my feedback is used to make improvements, improvements that are gonna be made open-source also, then I’m OK with it.

  • Jacob

    The main thing i dont like is how chrome hits the hard drive so much and it does transfer a lot of data so if you are on a limited internet plan it may push your data transfer pretty high. I found a discussion on it here:

    http://www.chromeplugins.org/google/chrome-talk/why-so-heavy-disk-i-o-37.html

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