Is Google too big and powerful, and do you need to ditch Chrome for good? Privacy experts say yes. Chrome is tightly integrated with Google’s data gathering infrastructure, including services such as Google search and Gmail – and its market dominance gives it the power to help set new standards across the web. Chrome is one of Google’s most powerful data-gathering tools.
Chrome’s hefty data collection practices are another reason to ditch the browser. According to Apple’s iOS privacy labels, Google’s Chrome app can collect data including your location, search and browsing history, user identifiers and product interaction data for “personalisation” purposes. Google says this gives you the ability to enable features such as the option to save your bookmarks and passwords to your Google Account. But unlike rivals Safari, Microsoft’s Edge and Firefox, Chrome links this data to devices and individuals.
Although Chrome legitimately needs to handle browsing data, it can siphon off a large amount of information about your activities and transmit it to Google, says Rowenna Fielding, founder and director of privacy consultancy Miss IG Geek. “If you’re using Chrome to browse the internet, even in private mode, Google is watching everything you do online, all the time. This allows Google to build up a detailed and sophisticated picture about your personality, interests, vulnerabilities and triggers.”
Despite having better AI, we removed all Google smart speakers from our home for similar reasons to Wired’s case for getting rid of Chrome. Every year Google becomes more intrusive to privacy and more evil. Yesterday it was smart speakers; today, it’s Chrome. If I care about privacy, then I have to question the use of everything Google: Search, Gmail, Docs, Sheets—all of it.
At the risk of sounding like an alarmist, at what point does using Google (and other companies with the same anti-privacy practices like Facebook) become bad for your well-being? At what point does Google become too great of a risk for business at large?➵