Thursday, September 04, 2008


Chrome Already Losing Its Luster

So, it has only been a little over a day and half in the life of Google's new browser, and the privacy advocates and Internet hardcore are coming out of the woodwork. Concerns are high and could hit fever pitch very soon over just how much data Google will be tracking from your use of Chrome.

The issue is developing so fast that it is already hitting the mainstream media, already being reported and addressed in local newspapers. So, what is all the concern about? Don't IE and Firefox both track data? The newer versions of Firefox use keyword suggestion similar to the Omnibox feature that Google stated to CNET would send keystroke and IP address info back to the Googleplex. Google also admitted to CNET that they would keep 2% of that data on file to help improve the system. The interesting tidbit is that Omnibox will actually track your keystrokes even if you don't hit enter to engage in a search query.

On the flip side, a little company in Redmond this last week released its own updated beta of IE 8. Contrary to the building steam of fear and anxiety around privacy and Chrome, much of the press about IE 8 has been focused on its easy to implement privacy protection features. InPrivate Blocking and InPrivate Subscription features of IE 8 are already being jokingly referred to as "porn mode" by tech bloggers. By using the InPrivate Blocking mode, you are not storing browsing or search history, cookies, and it even clears your cache for you at the end of the session. Sounds like a perfect testing browser to us.

So, you have to new browser launches (and the latest update to Firefox came out this week as well) on what appears to be divergent paths. Microsoft appears to be winning the positive PR battle so far. The broader question is how will potential security concerns impede Chrome adoption?

Even as a professional internet marketer who relies on much of this type of technology, the sheer amount of data Google is collecting these days is starting to concern me. To date, we have been very open to letting Google into our computing lives with search, desktop search, Google Apps, Maps etc. In Q4 '08 Android based phones will become available, and how far are we from a Linux based Google PC OS?

That is a lot of touch points in a person's life, and the amount of data that can be collected is staggering. Data provides a immense power and is the catalyst engine for creating an extremely lucrative platform of corporate wealth. It seems, in the broader sense that Chrome is just another step in Google's march to face some anti-trust troubles of their own.


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