Trust and the crown jewels
There has been much anger in some quarters over a recent change to Google Chrome. The latest update signs you into the browser with your Google account whenever you log into a Google site. This is being seen as a huge breach of trust, and even though things aren’t quite as they seem, it’s hard to disagree.
While some initially assumed this was Google forcibly taking browsing data from users who didn’t want to hand it over, staff working on Chrome have said that’s not true. You need to switch on ‘Chrome sync’ for Google to start storing your browsing history remotely.
The Chrome team says they made this change to Chrome so if you were logged in and shared your computer, other people’s cookies weren’t stored with your data. That makes sense, except that if you never logged in, you wouldn’t have the problem in the first place.
It’s all a bit too detailed to explain in the space I have here (read this piece by Matthew Green
for a full rundown), but the root issue here is communication and trust. At some point, the Chrome team made what seemed to them a simple and obvious improvement. Read tweets from the team, and it’s clear they believe they’re doing it for the good of users.