To Chrome or not to Chrome?


#1

Because of my high regard for users’ right to privacy, I tend to avoid Google and I have never opened Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts. I have used Chrome browser and/or Google Search only when I absolutely had to.

Now, it seems, my aversion to Chrome will have even stronger motivation. It turns out, Google engineers proposed changes to the open-source Chromium browser that will break content-blocking extensions, including ad blockers. See this article, if you do care: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/01/22/google_chrome_browser_ad_content_block_change/

Now, if I only could find a good replacement for Gmail…


#2

How does the browser you use impact your users privacy?

I understand where your coming from in other regards, but the reality is if your are connected to the Internet you are being tracked and your data harvested.


#3

I’ve been moving myself off Google slowly for years. I now primarily use my own domain and host my own email. I prefer the control.


#4

Have you tried Brave?


#5

I’ve slowly been abandoning Google products for about 12 - 18 months. I’ve lost trust in the company. They have done several things that I have been deeply unhappy about.

I use Chillimail for my main inbox (a subsidiary of Chillidog Hosting). But I have also heard some very good things said about a service called ProtonMail.

Browser-wise, Firefox all the way. It has the best web developer tools and the fastest rendering of any browser I’ve used. I have uBlock and DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials Installed to block harmful tracking and adverts. I’ve set the default search to DuckDuckGo and the results it returns are as good-as Google. I really like Firefox and their addon services like getpocket.com work well.

Mozilla has some interesting projects in development too:

I’m stuck with using Google Android on my phone for now. o2 won’t let me install Linux!

I’m still a heavy user of YouTube, but hopeful other platforms like BitChute will gain more momentum and offer an alternative.


#6

I couldn’t be more in agreement and echo all these points regarding Google.

I use @richard Hillsdon’s Tekeez email service which is excellent too.


#7

I’ve managed to abandon all Google products except Gmail. I have so many licences tied to that email address that I’m worried about losing access to something.

I don’t have any Google apps on my iPhone. Replaced Google maps with Yandex, search is DuckDuckGo. I’ve been using DDG for a year or so now.

I also have Protonmail, but I’ve just realised that they get some funding from the EU so isn’t trustworthy IMHO. I’m about to uninstall the Dropbox app after reading that the U.S spy agencies have full authorised access to everything on Dropbox.

Privacy and security are a constant battle. Some people just say they have nothing to hide so why worry, and although I don’t do anything illegal or dodgy, I’ll keep fighting them as much as possible.

I also remember the deputy director of the FBI saying that Facebook was the best thing that ever happened for them.


#8

Only using Chrome for development, for me the best development environment.

Beside that, only Safari (inclusive favourite sync with iPhone).


#9

Glad it’s working well, we can provide a variety of business grade email services, all fully hosted and managed, and we don’t spy on anyone’s emails or read their content etc! Super fast industry standard IMAP or Exchange with big mailboxes and personal support. :) More details here: https://www.tekeez.uk/email and discounts for RW4All members :)


#10

Why do people trust Apple so much over Google?

Makes no sense.

Personally I’m of the opinion that Apple is little more than an extension of various government agencies.

Please don’t quote the well publicised Apple Vs Government privacy stories. That is classic slight of hand stuff.

Google are the bad boys, I’m not going to pretend otherwise for one second, as are facebook et al, but the notion that Apple are somehow different is comical.

(No offence to the fan boys ;-) )

Personally, I don’t fall into the “I’ve done nothing wrong so I don’t worry” category. I’ve done plenty wrong, if my incognito browser history got out I’m go to prison, or at the very least have to spend a long time in therapy, ;-) I just accept if I want to go online I’ve little choice. Sure, I can change things slightly and make things slightly harder, but it’s a lot of effort for minimal gains, so I don’t bother.


#11

Have you tried to install a Safari extension lately? They all have to be “sandboxed” and come from the Apple App Store. Apple claims to protect privacy, but they are a very much a for profit company and can easily change those policies.
Firefox is great, I prefer the Chrome developer tool, but Firefox has been improving. As website developers, you do need to test on chrome.
If you want Chrome tools without Google, try Opera.


#12

Personally, I don’t trust Apple any more than Google. “Don’t be evil” was the most ironic slogan in history.

At the moment, there’s nothing that I can replace my Apple products with. Microsoft? No thanks. Android? Double no thanks.

I realise it’s each to his own, and the only way to be safe online is not to be online.

But for me, Google’s stuff is much easier to replace than Apple’s.


#13

Fair enough.

I’m always safe online, i wear a condom.


#14

My main browser always was Safari, with DuckDuckGo search, but—like Will—I am attempting to get used to Firefox. In my view, they are the best in browser-world, in more ways than one.

Like Neil, I have de-installed DropBox a couple of years back and never feel any need for that service. I use my own website to transfer big files.

Gmail is my biggest problem at the moment. I will have to think about replacing the use of Gmail with Sitelok-based email system that I have installed on my website. I’m afraid that this will not be too convenient, though…


#15

Why do people dislike Gmail?

What is it doing that is so bad?


#16

Have you read the terms of use you agreed to?


#17

Steve, I feel that you are just pulling my leg. I’m sure you are fully aware of things that Google do with all the information we are willingly feeding to them.

Outfits like Google and Facebook were invented for the sole purpose of harvesting information. All their “free” services (Gmail among them) and products are the bait for pulling in as many users as they can.


#18

Absolutely.

But do you seriously think that my not using Gmail you’re having the slightest effect on the privacy of your data?

Lets pretend email is mail. If someone wants access to it, for whatever reason, do you think they are going to break into your house to read it? No, course not, they’re going to go to the sorting office.

To think that by not using Gmail you are stopping anyone access to your data is nuts. It’s a bit like the person who unplugs their TV at night instead of letting it go into standby and thinking by doing this they’re saving the planet.


#19

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do think I am improving my privacy by not using Gmail. Further improvement is encrypting the email.

I just checked out the Proton Mail website recommended by Will. This looks very promising. They have both free and paid services. They are fully owned by Swiss and are located in Switzerland. All their mail is encrypted.

I opened a free account for testing.


#20

Not trying to stir shit or anything but why do people think “their” email messages are worth big brother reading? I get that Google/whoever make use of my emails for marketing/analytics etc but only in the sense that I’m a molecule of water in an ocean of data … I make part of the ocean but as in individual I’m nothing to them.

If we get to a point that my (and EVERYONE ELSE’S) emails are actively being monitored for subversion or whatever then society will have gone so Orwellian that we’ll have far more things to worry about than which browser to use.