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Google’s New Free Browser, Chrome

Google’s New Free Browser, Chrome

Just a few days ago, google announced that they’re entering the browser market, with their own webkit-based browser, Chrome:

Chrome Screenshot

Fortunately, being based on webkit, the engine that powers Apple’s Safari browser, it won’t affect the appearance of anyone’s website. According to the comic that they posted to explain the browser, it will hopefully make javascript-powered websites faster, or at least less likely to crash your browser.

At the same time, the browser does seem woefully incomplete. It seems that it was rushed out the door due to leaked details, resulting in a very unfinished product:

google chrome

The browser ships with no RSS support, which annoys power users like myself, but doesn’t affect most people. The far bigger oversight is that support for opensearch is extremely difficult to use. This means that google is basically bundling their search engine to a browser, leveraging their weight right onto your desktop.

Add Search Engine

While I understand the instructions about the URL, there’s no way I’m going to manually craft a URL for other search engines, when every other modern browser supports one-click adding with opensearch.

Furthermore, despite Matt Cutts’ Attempts to assuage people’s privacy fears, there’s no denying that google is spying on anything you read, post, or search for in Chrome. Readers of El Reg have noted that the EULA explicitly states that Google claims to own anything you post through their browser:

11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights that you already hold in Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content, you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services. This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

h/t 69105

There’s good reason to be afraid of Google violating their own “Do No Evil” Motto. They are claiming the right to republish anything you post in the relative privacy of Facebook, Myspace, or Livejournal. Since the browser doesn’t know what privacy level you’ve chosen, only the content of your post, and the username and password you used to post it.  I’ll be staying far away from this browser until they’ve rethought it.

UPDATE: the first security flaw is out already as well.  Make sure that you click the wrench icon and set your downloads to prompt you where to download (disabled by default) h/t timetheif.

UPDATE 2: According to Ars Technica, Google made a copy/paste error with the EULA. Gizmodo is appropriately skeptical.

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