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Microsoft Claims Google Chrome Steals Your Privacy

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the our-competitor-is-bad dept.

Google 522

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft is going on the offensive against Google, accusing the search giant of creating a browser that does not respect user privacy. The company posted a video, embedded below, on TechNet Edge with the following description: 'Watch a demo on how Google Chrome collects every keystroke you make and how Internet Explorer 8 keeps your information private through two address bars and In Private browsing.' Microsoft's first criticism is Chrome's combining the address bar and the search box into a single entry box; IE8 keeps those fields separate. 'By keeping these boxes separate, your privacy is better protected and the addresses of the sites you're visiting aren't automatically shared with Microsoft, or anyone else,' says IE product manager Pete LePage."

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522 comments

Correct (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694870)

Pete LePage is spot on with this. The privacy intrusion by Chrome is outstanding. Every key you type to the address bar is sent to Google. Your Chrome installation has an personal UI number to track where you downloaded Chrome from, wherever you use it and how you use it.

I am still surprised how many people (even here on our geeky slashdot group who should know better) choose something based on it being offered for free, no matter what happens to their privacy. The same people who complain about casual people using Facebook and how much information they're putting there, and not realizing how much privacy they are losing by using Google's free products and search engine.

It's a known fact that every software needs to be funded in some way. Personally I rather choose a paid solution where I know my privacy wont be lost and I can save documents, emails, etc on my own hard drive instead of relying on cloud computing and all the marketing and privacy intrusion to make it possible. After all Google is a marketing company while Microsoft is an software company. The fact they're doing business by selling me a product instead of whoring to advertisers kind of shows that.

Re:Correct (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31694942)

Let me translate this from sopssa MS shill speak into english:

"Owe nooessss!!!! Google knows about all the gay porn I browse!"

Re:Correct (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695014)

I hope so, they might be able to start recommending some better, hotter, stuff for my pleasuring!

Re:Not Correct (5, Insightful)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694946)

Did you not read TFA at all ? You can not only choose which search provider to use the search suggestions, you can also turn off search suggestions in chrome !!

Re:Not Correct (0, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695038)

Did you not read TFA at all ?
You can not only choose which search provider to use the search suggestions, you can also turn off search suggestions in chrome !!

Yes, and have looked over Chrome (and used some) personally. All of these settings are hidden in the advanced settings dialog, and how many users you think are going to check those just to know their privacy isn't violated? That is exactly what Google also counts for. The fact is, Chrome is the most privacy intrusive browser for everyone and I'm quite sure most of their reasoning to create it was to datamine. That's their business after all.

Re:Not Correct (5, Insightful)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695252)

All of these settings are hidden in the advanced settings dialog

Bullshit. The search provider option is right on the first options tab. The search suggestions option is at the very top on the last tab (there are only 3 tabs), under the big blue "Privacy" label. Don't damage your own case by exaggerating the facts.

Re:Not Correct (4, Insightful)

repka (1102731) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695432)

What's so hard to understand about this problem? Most users want to use suggestions only for their searches, not URLs they enter. Chrome only allows toggling suggestions for both.

Re:Not Correct (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695334)

As somebody who personally knows people working on Chrome, I can assure you that data mining was not the goal of Chrome. Most engineers at Google are sincerely trying to make the Web a better place. That this actually helps Google is just a bonus for them.

Re:Not Correct (3, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695436)

To add to that, what is to stop a software vendor (MS) from simply gathering the information typed into ANY field in a browser. Whether they are in a combo field or not is irrelevant. What a ridiculous argument.

Re:Not Correct (2, Insightful)

repka (1102731) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695508)

They (M$) do collect this information locally if you have form auto-completion. But they don't send anywhere, unlike google.

Re:Not Correct (4, Insightful)

repka (1102731) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695536)

That's not true, if they wanted to keep it anonymous, they wouldn't send session cookie with each request. Yet they do. Session id is not required for auto-suggestions.

Once again they don't just receive everything you type in address bar, they also associate it with your session.

Re:Not Correct (4, Insightful)

Kugrian (886993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695462)

All of these settings are hidden in the advanced settings dialog

They aren't hidden, they're quite visible. 3 clicks show you them.

Re:Not Correct (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695528)

It's useless. Most Slashdotters have their heads so far up Google's ass, nothing you say will reach their ears. This is a company that indexes everything forever, including your email and IM conversations. It gets praised as some "open source company" when its main product--its search engine and advertising platform--is as closed as Windows. It only uses open source products to get people onto its proprietary advertising platform.

Re:Not Correct (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695398)

I've read the title of the summary, and dismissed it as an especially smelly load of swine shit. Every browser has it's own issues, and the user should be familiar with them. Yeah, all the browsers tend to keep records that are unnecessary. All the browsers tend to report data that is unnecessary, to websites, to developers, to the authors, if left on default settings.

But, for MICROSOFT to point fingers is just preposterous.

Maybe they can try again in 10 years, after they've created a clearly superior browser. I mean, CLEARLY superior to anything else on the market. When those of us who really dislike and/or hate microsoft HAVE to admit that their browser is at least as good as any of the competition, THEN MS can find fault with the competition.

Wait - did I say "10 years"? Hmmmmmm. More than likely, browsers will be obsolete before Microsoft makes the browser that is clearly superior to any competition that can be found.

Security is NOT an issue with The Cloud. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31694972)

Wait a minute. I'm a manager, and I've been reading a lot of case studies and watching a lot of webcasts about The Cloud. Based on all of this glorious marketing literature, I, as a manager, have absolutely no reason to doubt the safety of any data put in The Cloud.

The case studies all use words like "secure", "MD5", "RSS feeds" and "encryption" to describe the security of The Cloud. I don't know about you, but that sounds damn secure to me! Some Clouds even use SSL and HTTP. That's rock solid in my book.

And don't forget that you have to use Web Services to access The Cloud. Nothing is more secure than SOA and Web Services, with the exception of perhaps SaaS. But I think that Cloud Services 2.0 will combine the tiers into an MVC-compliant stack that uses SaaS to increase the security and partitioning of the data.

My main concern isn't with the security of The Cloud, but rather with getting my Indian team to learn all about it so we can deploy some first-generation The Cloud applications and Web Services to provide the ultimate platform upon which we can layer our business intelligence and reporting, because there are still a few verticals that we need to leverage before we can move to The Cloud 2.0.

Re:Security is NOT an issue with The Cloud. (0, Redundant)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695180)

The cloud is not inherently secure in and of itself. A cloud deployment can have more security issues than a non-cloud deployment, very easily.

"Security Is Not a Product; It's a Process"

...

"No security product acts as magical security dust; they all require time and expertise to make work properly. You have to baby-sit them, every day. "

...

"If you think technology can solve your security problems, then you don't understand the problems and you don't understand the technology."
--Bruce Schneier

A Koan (5, Funny)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695336)

If a joke is told and no one gets it, does it WHOOSH?

Re:A Koan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695372)

Are you sure it's a joke? I've worked for several managers who sound just like that. And they're 100% serious.

Re:A Koan (2, Funny)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695474)

I'd venture and say yes it does WHOOSH, but nobody hears it. Unfortunately, I can't confirm that result as there was no observer attuned to the frequency of WHOOSH...

Re:Security is NOT an issue with The Cloud. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695406)

Uhm, say WHAT?!

Re:Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31694976)

I'm assuming you didn't actually read the article because you wanted to look like a jackass.

Re:Correct (3, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695076)

I'm assuming you didn't actually read the article because you wanted to look like a jackass.

And what did you wanted me to read about it? This?

We downloaded Fiddler to make some comparisons of our own. As we suspected, Chrome can be set to send information on every keystroke to Bing (or any other search engine that supports Search Suggestions) instead of Google. The same behavior occurs in IE8, but only in the search bar. LePage is only correct in his assertion that IE8 does not send information to anyone when the user types into the address bar.

The last sentence is a major point.

Re:Correct (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695184)

Not really.

username:password@www.whatever.net is something you might type into the url bar that would pose a very real security threat when shared. Google search terms are automatically published and your login information would be accessible to anyone.

Re:Correct (2, Informative)

Handlarn (911194) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695274)

Except that they filter out any user data and passwords when they publish the search terms. Any other situation would have generated a huge outcry by now. Try finding any login information this way yourself and you'll notice it can't be found.

Re:Correct (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695254)

Actually, you should have noted that the behavior is entirely CONFIGURABLE by the end user. That would have been a nice detail to pick up. It also would have been nice if you noted that IE8 does exactly the same thing when you type in it's search bar. So IE8 doesn't send the URLs you're typing to a suggestion service. Do you really care that much? If so, turn off the suggestion service. Wrench menu -> Options -> "Use suggestion service to help complete search and URLs typed in the address bar". Was that so hard? You can uncheck the other things under the Privacy heading too.

Also, if you read the article, you'd get the point that this Microsoft spokesperson just glossed over the fact that IE8's search bar uses the same kind of suggestion service. You're naive if you think Microsoft doesn't mine the data gathered from Bing.

Finally, Chrome may be free, but if you actually took the time to understand how it is built and engineered, you'd understand it is a high quality piece of software. It wasn't just thrown together in order to steal people's private lives.

Re:Correct (5, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694994)

Personally I rather choose a paid solution where I know my privacy wont be lost and I can save documents, emails, etc on my own hard drive instead of relying on cloud computing and all the marketing and privacy intrusion to make it possible.

You do that. I'll stick with Firefox, thanks.

Re:Correct (5, Interesting)

red456 (1760250) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695478)

do you not think that Firefox is becoming the new IE? If I can remember correctly through my drunken history of the last 8 years, Firefox was first promoted as an alternative the bloated Mozilla - and quite rightly so. Recently though, despite all the releases and the announcements on brand new 10x-faster JavaScript interpreters I find it's bogging down to an almost unusable level.
Once upon a time there used to be configuration to permit or deny javascript to run - now this is split into 12 different parameters, 7 of which are hidden behind the about:config screen. The default is now for pages to be able to open windows hiding the menu and status bar. WTF?
Once upon a time there used to an option to open new pages as a tab or in a new window - now this is split into 2 different parameters (browser.link.open_newwindow and browser.link.open_newwindow_restriction) which make no sense to anybody.
Do you expect 'backspace' to go 'backwards' in your browsing history? Everybody does - on all browsers, except for the Linux release of Firefox - for no understandable reason they decided that the Linux Firefox should do nothing upon pressing backspace, but all other versions should continue the convention.
Do you actively use the overly complicated features of the re-written Bookmarks functionality on Firefox 3.x? I don't, nobody in my office (20 people) does. Everybody hate it.
And lastly... privacy. Firefox 3.x made a real big push for 'privacy'. They said 'you can toggle private browsing on and off' - and 'you can delete browsing history over the last hour, day, month etc..". SUPER LIE. Try deleting your history (everything!) then go to your .mozilla/firefox/{UID}.profile directory. Now...try running 'strings' on your places.sqlite file and try running strings on the files in the bookmarkbackups directory. Yeh, privacy, HUH?

Re:Correct (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695064)

There's a difference between posting information in public where everyone can freely access and share it whenever they want, and revealing the information to a service provider in the context of a private transaction, which the SP is not supposed to reveal to third parties.

By this logic, your ISP is the biggest privacy invader there is -- every bit of data you send passes through their routers.

Also, they can aggregate scan it, and apply all sorts of alerts (or traffic rate control) rules based on whatever it contains.

Posting private info on Facebook and having access wide open to the public or even lots of friends, is still a bigger compromise of personal info.

Even if your searches actually contain more sensitive info about you. The difference is Google isn't publishing your details for arbitrary members of the public to see.

Re:Correct (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695138)

Actually you are spot on, but for other reasons.

With Facebook you choose what information you put or post there.

With Google you do not - they have what you have typed to address bar, what you have searched for, what your emails contain, what sites you visit, how you're there, what you do (analytics) and so on..

Actually both Google and Microsoft are worried about this - see my subscription here [slashdot.org] for a request to change relating laws.

Re:Correct (1)

Lux (49200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695122)

I have no idea why people who wouldn't buy a television that was designed, built, or sold by an advertizing company so commonly choose to use a web browser that was designed, built, and given away for free by an advertizing company.

Microsoft is right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31694880)

They are probably right. I wouldn't trust Chrome because it doesn't have nigger-free code. Without a guarantee of nigger-free code I can't believe that my privacy is being respected.

Look.... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694884)

Even if Chrome -was- violating your privacy, why switch to IE? Especially when there is Firefox... Myself I don't like using Chrome because it is not customizable the way Firefox is. You can't even change history settings on Chrome!

Re:Look.... (2, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694900)

Well, that and your keystrokes are sent to Google...

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695072)

Just URL bar keystrokes, which can instead be sent to Microsoft or Yahoo depending on your preferred search engine.

YOU CAN TURN IT OFF. (4, Informative)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695454)

Unless you go to Preferences->Advanced and turn off the appropriate option in the Privacy category.

Or am I missing something major here? Is it possible that most people on /. didn't see that option? I saw only a comment or two mentioning that.

Re:Look.... (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694906)

They aren't really saying you should switch to IE. They're just pointing out how Chrome steals your privacy to further Google's datamining and pleasuring their advertisers.

Personally I use Opera.

Re:Look.... (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695366)

They're just pointing out how Chrome steals your privacy to further Google's datamining and pleasuring their advertisers.

While also saying that IE has better security and suggesting that you should use IE instead. How is that not saying you should switch to IE?

Re:Look.... (1, Flamebait)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694966)

Have you even used Firefox lately? It's a bloated piece of crap now.

Re:Look.... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695018)

Use it daily, does everything I need. In fact, I doubt I could get along without it anymore due to the awesome extensions. As for bloat, nothing as trivial as a browser is bloated when you have more than 2 GB of RAM.

Re:Look.... (5, Interesting)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695158)

I'm not real sure if taking up 900+MB of RAM and 1+GB of VM can really be considered "trivial". I was playing Crysis once and alt-tabbed out of it to figure out why everything was so choppy, and Firefox was using more resources than Crysis.

Re:Look.... (1, Insightful)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695168)

Apparently stating the truth is trolling now :(

Re:Look.... (2, Informative)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695330)

And when you looked closer, you saw that Flash was taking up 99% of those resources in Firefox.

Re:Look.... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694978)

Chrome IS a privacy nightmare.

IE 6 is shit. IE 7 wasn't too bad. IE 8 is fine.
FF is good. Opera is where it's at.

Re:Look.... (2, Interesting)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695078)

I don't like chrome because:

A. It's incredibly god damn slow, like the "I'm sure this must be broken, it's so amazingly slow". I was having a problem earlier with a page in firefox, so I loaded up chrome to see if the page had issues there. It was so slow that I gave up, loaded up my 10.04 beta VM, loaded up firefox in that, and checked the page there. It was faster to do that. really. REALLY. I'm not kidding.

B. "Adblock" in chrome is trash. The ads are still there, they're just not flashing at you. If I mis-click on an "empty" part of the page, all of a sudden I'm looking at god knows what, and who the hell knows what I "accepted" by clicking that ad. Thank god I'm in linux.

Re:Look.... (4, Interesting)

zegota (1105649) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695242)

Are you kidding? That first comment surprises me. Speed is the reason I switched to Chrome. It's so much faster than Firefox, it's not even funny. It sounds like the single page you tested your speed premise on had some issues. You might want to expand your sample.

Re:Look.... (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695498)

Agreed. Speed is the main reason I switched to Chrome. Speed is the main reason why everyone I know who has switched to Chrome decided to switch.

Re:Look.... (2, Informative)

AaronW (33736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695488)

I love Chrome because it's so fast and doesn't have all the bloat that's crept into Firefox. It's more stable than Firefox and I like the single search bar. Granted, I still think it could use improvement in a number of areas, but Firefox also has a lot of really annoying quirks to it.

On my netbook I will only use Chrome. It's far more efficient with the limited screen real estate than Firefox, plus with the slower processor the difference is night and day.

Something is really wrong if Chrome is so slow on your setup. For me, it's much much faster than Firefox, especially when I have a lot of tabs open.

The difference is even more apparent on my I7 desktop. Firefox seems to be single threaded whereas Chrome will make use of all of the cores and threads.

-Aaron

Re:Look.... (2, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695130)

Even if Chrome -was- violating your privacy, why switch to IE? Especially when there is Firefox.

This may come as a huge shock, but not everyone likes nor enjoys using Firefox.

Re:Look.... (1)

16384 (21672) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695320)

And besides, who sponsors firefox? Various google "features" creep into the browser, and it takes some effort to disable them. I still use firefox though (what else is there, really?).

Hello, Mr. Pot? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694896)

Let me introduce you to Mr Kettle. But, you two should be very well acquainted by now anyway.

If this is the best MS can do then they need to work on their game. I expect the whole MS/Apple/Google wars to get ugly.

Re:Hello, Mr. Pot? (2, Funny)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694952)

The unfortunate thing here is that when it comes to google, they really don't have much else.

Re:Hello, Mr. Pot? (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695328)

Exactly. While it's not nearly so explicit, MS has been able to collect the web addresses you enter into the address bar. Ever fat finger an address? Ever get sent to a MS search page instead? Enough data on typos can give you some good data on the addresses you meant to type in.

Google went the next step and does the search on all addresses, not just bad ones. People also enter addresses into the search field, too. It's just that Google made the relationship between the address bar and search bar more explicit.

For once, however, it's nice to see MS point out the problem, instead of copying the feature. Kudos to them on that.

this is news? (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694918)

Google wants to know everything you do. from the user opinions i've read about the Nexus One it sounds like Google is doing the same thing there. Along with Google Wave. they want to know everything you type in and keep a record of it

Re:this is news? (3, Informative)

kronosopher (1531873) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695354)

Google Wave uses AJAX to show other users in your wave what you're typing as you type it. This does not mean "they want to know everything you type". It's a feature, and a tool. Like any tool it can be used for both benevolent and malevolent purposes, but itself is not inherently either.

Bogus argument (4, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694940)

"By keeping these boxes separate, your privacy is better protected"

Umm, the boxes are all controlled by the same program, so whether or not there is physical separation between them (does that have any meaning in a user interface?) has nothing to do with whether or not the data is collected or not.

This guy is a product manager?

Re:Bogus argument (0)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695004)

You have put your tinfoil hat too strictly now.

His point is that whatever you type to the address is not being send to anywhere. There is no auto-completion. When you want to search for something you go the other box and type a few letters, which upon the browser sends a request for auto-suggestions (and obviously whatever you've typed in).

Separating these two is a huge thing. As it is with Chrome, Google knows everything you've typed in and what websites you have visited. With other browsers (with separated address and search bars) they only know what you're typing to the search query box. Major difference.

Re:Bogus argument (-1)

oGMo (379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695080)

His point is that whatever you type to the address is not being send to anywhere.

Anywhere like unencrypted to DNS servers, or the sites you're accessing, or... OK so I guess this protects you from Google seeing your typos. Wow. Hint: Your ISP (or whoever's endpoint your VPN tunnel comes out on) sees all this stuff anyway. Hint 2: You aren't important enough for anyone to care.

Re:Bogus argument (0)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695204)

OK so I guess this protects you from Google seeing your typos.

Everything you type in the address bar is sent to a search engine, it doesn't wait for you to enter a typo first. Each keystroke sends a request to do a search for what you've entered so far, which means that as you type a URL in whatever your search engine is gets that information.

Hint: Your ISP (or whoever's endpoint your VPN tunnel comes out on) sees all this stuff anyway.

Is your ISP a data-collecting advertising company, or are they an ISP?

Hint 2: You aren't important enough for anyone to care.

Speak for yourself, that doesn't apply to everyone (and is that really an excuse?)

Re:Bogus argument (4, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695428)

Hint: Your ISP (or whoever's endpoint your VPN tunnel comes out on) sees all this stuff anyway.

They have a direct legitimate need to see it. That is precisely the service I am paying them to provide. And while I suppose my ISP *could* be using the information to build a profile on me, where i go, what email i send, who i send it to, etc, etc... I'm actually quite confident they aren't actually doing this. I know people who work for the ISP. I know a great deal about how they are setup. So... yes... they could... but they don't. I could be wrong but then a lot of people I know who should know are ignorant and / or lying. Occam's razor....

Google on the other hand... is doing this. That's their business model. That's what they do. That's all they do.

Hint 2: You aren't important enough for anyone to care.

Really? Trotting that one out?

Your wrong. Build a profile on the average person... and people will check it out. Someone *always* cares. Friends, class mates, fellow employees, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, employers, insurance companies...

Remember the bit of scandal when it came to light that facebook employees could and did (and probably still do) read so-called 'private data'. Build a database of this stuff, and sooner or later it will be abused by someone.

Re:Bogus argument (2, Insightful)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695326)

Separating these two is a huge thing. As it is with Chrome, Google knows everything you've typed in and what websites you have visited. With other browsers (with separated address and search bars) they only know what you're typing to the search query box. Major difference.

No, it's not. Any developer knows that you could very well have both inputs being sent continuously to whomever they want. Also, you'd be amazed at the number of people who type the URL in the search box anyway. You'd be even more amazed at the sheer number of people who type their URLs in the search box of their Google homepage.

People don't like URLs. Google has become the new DNS.

Re:Bogus argument (5, Informative)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695092)

Umm, the boxes are all controlled by the same program, so whether or not there is physical separation between them (does that have any meaning in a user interface?) has nothing to do with whether or not the data is collected or not.

And you don't understand the problem. This isn't a trust issue with the Chrome application. If it was, you would have lost the battle as soon as you installed it on your computer. This is a privacy problem (a recurring theme with Google's applications).

The issue that MS is pointing out is that because Chrome combines the address bar and the search box, when you start typing hotmidgetoatmealpor, that information is sent directly to Google so they can do auto-completion/auto-searching. Where it is associated with you. And saved. Forever.

In IE, the search box is a separate entity, and you can turn search suggestions on or off for each search provider. Because of this, the only information sent to MS (or whatever search provider you use) is what you type in the search box. You can visit whatever URLs you want to and Bing/Yahoo/Google will never know about them.

Honestly though, I still struggle to figure out what the point of search suggestions are. I suppose they're helpful for people who don't know what they're looking for, but when I go to Google, I already know what I'm going to search for -- that's why I'm there! That said, I suppose it does provide some entertainment [googlelolz.com] .

Re:Bogus argument (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695244)

Just as a side point- there's some browsers such as seamonkey which use a single edit box, but don't do search hints, and thus don't send the per keystroke data to google. This is my preference- less UI clutter with total privacy.

Re:Bogus argument (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695342)

Because of this, the only information sent to MS (or whatever search provider you use) is what you type in the search box. You can visit whatever URLs you want to and Bing/Yahoo/Google will never know about them.

Or, so Microsoft says. They could still be sending data behind the scenes and just not showing you that they're doing that. (And, I realize you are saying this is a privacy vs. trust issue - to me it's sort of the same thing.) Not being visible in the user interface != not happening at all.

Re:Bogus argument (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695442)

This is why I do all my pr0n surfing on Lynx.

Re:Bogus argument (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695514)

"And Saved. Forever." is FUD. Google has a 9 month retention policy for search data: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/another-step-to-protect-user-privacy.html

Re:Bogus argument (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695520)

The issue that MS is pointing out is that because Chrome combines the address bar and the search box, when you start typing hotmidgetoatmealpor, that information is sent directly to Google so they can do auto-completion/auto-searching. Where it is associated with you. And saved. Forever.

From Google's Privacy Blog [blogspot.com] (in 2008):

That's what occurs on the surface of Google Suggest. Here's what happens under the hood. To provide its recommendations Google Suggest needs to know what you've already typed, so these partial queries are sent to Google. For 98% of these requests, we don't log any data at all and simply return the suggestions. For the remaining 2% of cases (which we select randomly), we do log data, like IP addresses, in order to monitor and improve the service.


However, given the concerns that have been raised about Google storing this information -- and its limited potential use -- we decided that we will anonymize it within about 24 hours (basically, as soon as we practically can) in the 2% of Google Suggest requests we use. This will take a little time to implement, but we expect it to be in place before the end of the month.

Re:Bogus argument (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695100)

You're joking, right?

User put X into URL BAR.
User put X into SEARCH BAR.

vs

User put X into BAR.

By separating the bars you can only grab search suggestions from the search bar. To grab search suggestions, you have to submit what you've typed in to the search provider. With one bar, everything you type gets thrown at the beast. Searches, IP addresses, local domain names and paths, favorites you bring up using autocomplete/history, etc.

Yes, you have to trust the program to respect it. But I'd rather trust a program with distinct fields (with distinct functions) than a autonomous algorithm that is supposed to analyze all my input, guess at what I wanted to do, and then perform actions.

Re:Bogus argument (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695222)

Combining them is a brilliant design decision. Microsoft has to provide people a 'reason' that their clunky two-box design is better.

And to joe average this 'seems' like it could be true.

If MS combined them right away, it would look like they were trying to copy Google. They'll have to wait until IE9 or 10, or when Firefox does it to do that.

Re:Bogus argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695318)

While I'd agree, claiming "2 boxes" is an invalid argument...

The concern I have is google running browsers, youtube, blogspot, knowing all the ad-words sites you visit, apps, your telephone and, oh, by the way... a search engine.

Google is simply too involved in to many parts of our lives, I don't trust anyone, regardless of a "don't be evil" slogan, that much.

The irony is that you can make some of the same complaints about microsoft.

Non-story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31694982)

http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/privacy.html

Re:Non-story (0)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695042)

IT was slashdotted, but here's a copy of the text:

YOU HAVE NONE!

Let me be the first to say... (4, Insightful)

kaffiene (38781) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694984)

Meh!

I don't care. I know the deal with Google. Everyone knows the deal with Google - they mine your data so they can target ads, you get useful software.

I don't mind Google's targeted ads so I feel no need for a tinfoil hat over this one.

If Google were trying to break into my bank account, I'd be worried, but I don't fear non-obtrusive advertising.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695288)

That may be, but it's still kind of disturbing to think that Google knows all about my fondness for videos of lesbian midgets wrestling koala bears.

Crap, I mean my friend's fondness for lesbian midgets wrestling koala bears...

Re:Let me be the first to say... (2, Insightful)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695382)

I'm with you and to be honest it is more about perception of the company than anything else really.

When I upgraded to IE 8, their questioneer about what I want IE to do. Everything microsoft related was disabled.
If google wants to collect data I could care less because I have a fuzzy warm trust feeling when I use their software.
Microsoft on the other hand I feel like I have to keep them at bay.

Same with other companies even ones I trust to provide antivirus software, handle my accounting ect. I just don't put as much blind faith in them. Maybe it is because they have all let me down in the past where in ways that matter to me. New companies have to earn my trust.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695524)

I'd rather have Google get my information that all the malware using the frequent IE exploits. That may eventually change, but currently ... I'd stick with Chrome over IE.

Even satan can be true sometimes (0)

camcorder (759720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31694996)

Even though I don't like Microsoft as many as I do like my sins, their employee is right. Google as in 'do no evil' is just an imagination.

Re:Even satan can be true sometimes (0)

powerspike (729889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695090)

They still are "do no evil", it's just when they floated, it was shifted from customers to shareholders...

Re:Even satan can be true sometimes (0)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695134)

Even though many bitch about Apple here or on Digg, it's just ultimately a gadget company with some distribution for content.

Google is the one that has a real chance into a evil skynet. Consider that they're expanding constantly. Soon, they'll power GPSes people use, and with the work from 1-800-Goog, google translate, google voice, they'll take on Dragon Naturally Speaking in the voice recognition game... and that is just one avenue of their expanding reach. They also want to provide high speed internet, etcetera in their trial programs. Consider how gmail and all their other services, what it will look like in 10 years if they succeed in all these endeavors being your provider to internet, search, email, phone, etcetera - a digital hub for everything. Perhaps even the OS.

Wonderful and scary stuff at the same time if they ever decide to stop being not evil (or something simpler like the original founders dying and greedy, short-sighted shareholders taking over). Perhaps someone would like to see if the GNU project wants to start some competition in these areas -- but that would require ungodly amount of resources.

Re:Even satan can be true sometimes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695390)

Google needs to have an anti-trust court put a boot in their ass.

Microsoft privacy policy (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695054)

Has anyone ever tried to implment the Microsoft privacy policy? Here is one guy who did. [privacy.net]

Predictive Text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695062)

The predictive feature in Google's search box could probably be considered to be sending "every keystroke"

Chrome under Linux. (4, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695066)

I use Chrome under Linux simply because the fonts look beautiful. I also never type stuff into the address bar - that's what all my bookmarks are for. When I actually am looking for something I use, tada, Google anyway. I am fully connected to a whole wack of Google services so I'm sure they know everything I do. So what. Google is benevolent and any information that could actually be used against you will be gathered anyway by someone with the motivation and resources no matter what browser you use. Now if I get a shiver up my spine I go into the tools menu and choose: "Incognito Window" and for every keystroke being entered into the address bar you can turn that off as well by turning off the suggestion service. So, if you don't use it correctly when privacy matters to you then there are privacy concerns. If you change the convenient settings the privacy concerns go away. Harping on Chrome for its suggestion features is a straw-man, if you want to talk real privacy issues then you talk about Cloud services themselves and laws about whether or not warrants are needed for them and also under privacy you talk about how easily compromised the browser is to leak your information. The address bar and suggestion services are just cross-camp sniping: they are easily changed to what you value if you have half a brain cell. Marketing.

Long time lurker... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695216)

Couldn't help but notice that the embedded video wouldn't load properly in my browser of choice... Chrome.

One of the first times I've seen an embedded video not load in chrome, that loads in any other browser I've got installed.

Irony

Chrome variant Iron is one solution (1)

howardcohen (244367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695218)

http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron.php

Iron's makers claim to block the Chrome privacy issues without sacrificing speed. I've been using it since a windows upgrade killed Firefox on all my machines.

Iron seems to work fine, but I'm not privacy savvy enough to claim it solves the issues raised here.

Re:Chrome variant Iron is one solution (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695438)

Iron is a chromium-fork by someone who wants to display ads on his download page.
http://neugierig.org/software/chromium/notes/2009/12/iron.html

1 Someone with the nick of "Iron" joins the channel and announces they're making a fork of Chrome.
2 They ask some semi-legal questions about how to advertise it, which we can't answer.
3 They ask some technical questions, like how to change the name of the browser that shows up in the executable, which kuchhal nicely helps them with.
4 Then there's this exchange (reformatted to remove timestamps and add line wrapping):

Big deal (2, Insightful)

nashv (1479253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695234)

Oh, so you mean the morons who are typing "My bank account number is 223344" or "My credit card is visa 2303232300022000 from citibank with cvv 100" into the address bar of their browser have a serious problem ?

Gosh, who knew.

Re:Big deal (0, Offtopic)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695344)

I once searched for my social security number. I found a florist in Texas. It was run by someone with the same first name as me, and their surname is also my middle name. That was a bit creepy.

Privacy (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695266)

If you search for everything with google anyways this shouldn't worry you. If you send data to your ISP unencrypted which almost everyone does you shouldn't be too worried. If you allow cookies this shouldn't really bug you. If you use facebook/myspace or some regular social media you shouldn't care at all. I'm sure there is a long list of other crap invading your privacy as well. I'm not saying it doesn't matter, I agree with MS. Just, there is lots of crap data mining you, live with it or become a hermit. Not a ton of other options.

Explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695348)

The problem is with Chrome's automatic URL suggestion service. As you type the URL into the search/URL bar, it sends it off to Google to auto-complete it for your benefit. It does this regardless of whether what you have typed is a url or search query. Therefore, Google gets access to your entire browsing history, including URLs you went to directly on sites that may not be serving Google ads (which would mean Google knows you went there anyway if you have accepted their cookie).

This particular privacy problem does not exist if the search bar and URL bar are separated OR if you turn off "Use a suggestion service to help complete searches and URLs typed into the address bar" in the Chrome preferences.

Redeeculous distinction (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695368)

Let's try to think clearly here.

Microsoft seems to be saying that you have more privacy when you type a URL into their address bar.

But that just means that your DNS server is now the "evil" thing that knows every place you've visited.

And of course your ISP can trap every URL you access.

So if you use Microsoft's model, you've just hidden from Google, but still exposed to your perhaps Ma and Pa ISP and DNS providers.

another web page.

So it doesn't respect user privacy (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695408)

So, if I get this right... when you use Chrome, you're in risk that it will track your every Google search, your every Gmail mail, your every YouTube video, your every Blogger comment, your every Google Groups post, your every Picasa picture, your every visit on sites using Google Analytics, and while we're at it, they also have a deal with Twitter to get your every tweet and they crawled your every website page.

In short, Google got you long before you started using Chrome. Using any other browser. You may as well relax and enjoy it.

Raising awareness of Chrome's issues is a good thing, but I think those of us who deal with security, corporate secrets and so on knew that long before someone else had to tell us, and have procedures in place on how to securely query and exchange information. The mainstream web was never exactly a very "privacy minded" medium. I use Chrome for casual browsing and install it for friends and relatives. There's nothing Chrome would give away for those people that Google didn't already have from their other sources.

The scary thing is... (0)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695426)

Microsoft is starting to make sense.

I've never tried Google Chrome, but now I never will unless they take this "feature" out. I won't use IE either of course. Microsoft may have more respect for my privacy, but they don't have any respect for my security.

Obnoxious Motherfuckers (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695446)

Just when you think you've seen everything from Microsoft they go and outdo themselves. They really are a bunch of obnoxious motherfuckers, who wouldn't know quality or taste if it slapped them in their monkey-dancing faces.

omg (0, Flamebait)

ProfessorKaos64 (1772382) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695458)

What a bunch of morons you all are. Does this impact your daily life? Does it steal your real private data? Bank accounts, purchase numbers!?? NO, stop being a bunch of f'ing whiners, sheesh. They are collecting browsing habit data, like EVERY company does to a degree, if we didn't have that, advertising would shrival up, and the web would actually kind of suck with no steady stream of money to fund all those FREE sites you visit. What a bunch of friggen morons.

Spin (4, Funny)

vikstar (615372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695464)

Earlier that day at Microsoft...
"Hey Pete, we can't get the combined search and address bar to work properly"
"Hmm. Ok, don't worry, we'll just spin it as a security feature".

Easy Fix (2, Informative)

kemushi88 (1156073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695470)

At least on the OS X version...

Preferences -> Under the Hood -> Uncheck "Use a suggestion service to help complete searches and URLs typed in the address bar"

Gee! Thanks Microsoft.. (2, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31695476)

So Chrome is a keylogger. Most of the new commercial stuff probably is. Nobody seems to care enough to do some deep checking...

Yeah right - f**k you Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31695496)

When you install Windows on your machine it automagicaly (modulo EU) gets the Internet Expolorer browser as default. Then when you open it it hangs for a second an displays MSN.COM website (or compatible). Next with this default browser if you mistype some URL address it redirects you to Microsoft search engine etc.

I mean - come on - people install Google stuff because THEY WANT TO - and it is the basic difference vs. MS web offering (nobody wants it and it is installed by default) vs. Google - everybody loves.

Fuck you Microsoft.

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