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Google's Little Shop of Horrors

'Feed me! Feeeeed me!'


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Google: n. Any omnivorous entity, animal or otherwise, that indiscriminately devours anything and everything.
 - Oxford English Dictionary

'Feed me! Feeeeed me!' The Google beseeches its caretakers. Its hunger is never abated, its greed has never known bounds, it only wants more and more.

News Google would be introducing their own web browser - dubbed 'Chrome' - was met with furrowed brows and healthy suspicion. Never mind the crippled non-native AJAX code - what about the Google's point of highest notoriety - its insatiable hunger for data, data, and more data?

Fear no longer. Ina Fried writes of the dark side of this new Google product, revealing Chrome effectively contains its own keystroke logger. It's not just what you search for in the location bar - 'omnibox' - it's potentially every character you type in.

'Google's new Chrome browser does more than just help users get where they are going. It will also give Google a wealth of information on what people are doing on the Internet besides searching', writes Fried.

Note the operative words: 'besides searching'.

'Provided users leave Chrome's auto-suggest feature on and have Google as their default search provider, Google will have access to any keystrokes typed into the browser's omnibox, even before a user hits enter.'

Note further operative words: 'even before a user hits enter'.

But is it really all that bad? Considering CNET are most likely in the tank for Google it really can't be, can it? Of course not! Fried 'explains'.

'Turning off the auto-suggest feature means that Google will neither get nor store this information. One can also select a search provider other than Google as their default to avoid having their search queries stored by Google.'

Yeah right. And those are the first two things all the hysterical users will do once they've downloaded the application. So Fried's off the hook.

But let's look instead at other implications Fried brings up before the 'blow-off'.


  The Google's new web browser Chrome installed and ready to surf the web. Feed it.
  • The Google won't spit your data back out once you've found what you're looking for. That would be downright silly. Google reps told CNET they plan to store (about) 2% of the data the Google eats - along of course with your IP address.

  • 2% does not at all equate to 'insignificant'. Google will be searching for things the Google wants - all it spits out (98%) is stuff the Google has no appetite for.

  • Put ANYTHING AT ALL past the Google's dripping jaws - without even hitting 'enter' - and you can have just bought your ticket up the river: it will already be in the belly of the Google.

And the Google never loses its grip.

Be a good netizen - everyone you know will be. Don't worry about your privacy and your integrity - no one you know online or otherwise will - so why should you?

So welcome the Google into your life today.

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