Why Are You Unhappy With Google Chrome's Face-lift?
Have you noticed that Google’s browser, Chrome wears a distinct much dapper look?
The update came a few days ago and its eliciting reactions already from industry experts.
As it turns out, not everyone appears happy with it.
Some security experts are already up in arms about the update as they claim that it could undermine users’ privacy.
The issue around their concerns is complex, but it revolves around how and when people choose to log in to the Chrome browser (which is different than logging in to Google services like Gmail).
You see, in past versions of the browser, this was a voluntary step.
Doing so means users can sync information like bookmarks, passwords, and browsing history between devices, a feature Google calls “Chrome Sync.”
It also means that their user data is stored on Google’s servers — something that some people are understandably unhappy about, according to tech website, the Verge.
But with Chrome 69, the latest version of the browser, whenever someone logs in to a Google service like Gmail or YouTube, they are now automatically logged in to Chrome as well.
This, say critics, is an underhand change that will nudge people into inadvertently sharing more data with Google, according to the website.
Criticism over the update has been bubbling all weekend, with Chrome engineer and manager Adrienne Porter Felt explaining the change on Twitter late Monday night.
Felt said that the change was made to avoid a problem some users have when sharing devices.
Felt outlined a scenario in which someone using a shared computer signs out of a Google service like Gmail and believes they’ve also signed out of Chrome.
If they haven’t actually done so, then the next user might have access to their data stored in the browser.
Felt also notes that automatically logging a user into Chrome doesn’t mean their personal data is automatically shared with Google.
For this to happen, Chrome Sync has to be enabled separately.
But critics say this isn’t good enough. Matthew Green, a cryptographer and professor at Johns Hopkins University, was one of the first to outline the problem in a blog post this weekend.
Green says that despite the fact that Chrome Sync isn’t automatically turned on, the end effect is still to nudge users into sharing more data.
“This change has enormous implications for user privacy and trust, and Google seems unable to grapple with this,” writes Green.
What do you think about the update? Do you have any concerns?