Posted in Menacing Monopoly, War on Privacy

Google CFO: “Everybody that uses Chrome is a guaranteed locked-in user, in terms of having access to Google”

Another week, another Freudian slip from a Google executive:

Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette noted that Chrome was being heavily invested in by the company because each user is a “locked-in”. “Everybody that uses Chrome is a guaranteed locked-in user, in terms of having access to Google,” was the actual quote.

LGB has said for years that the whole reason Google distributes Chrome is so it can more effectively spy on people. Google puts a lot of resources into constructing an appealing browser, based on open source software that they borrowed from KDE and other free software communities.

Then they put in their payload of spyware… which is proprietary (because if we could see how it works, we’d be able to see the extent of Google’s surveillance).

“Chrome OS” is all about taking the Chrome browser to the next level. If Google’s software is running the whole computer, everything a user does can be monitored by the Monster of Mountain View, and users can be quickly and easily exposed to new Google “services”. Pretty scary.

Towards the end of the call, a couple questions wondered if Google would be using Chrome as a way to alter search results or to introduce new products? This is a bit of a touchy subject since Google has been playing up Chrome as an “open” browser for the web (though technically it’s Chromium that is the open source version). None of the Google executives shot down these ideas and in fact, they played up these possibilities.

In other words, yes, Chrome could eventually be yet another way Google is following your movements online and using it to their advantage. Again, probably not the best way to answer those questions.

Not the best way to answer those questions? So they should be obfuscating their true plans and schemes? How can a tech journalist think that’s a good idea?

It’s good that they’re starting to be honest about their intentions, even if it’s for the wrong reasons. (Google’s execs seem to think the debate about privacy and security is over, despite the increasing attention they’re getting from governments and consumer watchdog groups).