Google promises privacy fixes in Chrome

Google is taking steps to mask the identities of those who use the new Chrome browser, the Washington Post reported.

According to Jane Horvath of Google, the company — which dominates the Internet search world (when people do a Web search they’re more likely to say they’re “googling” it, making the company name into a verb) — will anonymize IP addresses and cookies in the interest of privacy.

The privacy issue has been a major one on the Internet, and intensified as Google released the browser last week.

“My main concern is the ability to collect users’ Web addresses, and
therefore your complete surfing on the Web could be tracked,” Germany’s
data protection commissioner, Peter Schaar, said of Chrome. “The Web
is, in fact, a second life. A virtual mirror of one’s real life, with
information about one’s interests, activities, perhaps sexual
orientation.”

All of which is true. If you want to stay totally private, forget the Internet. The question, though, is whether the browser will make that much difference.

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Meanwhile, columnist Gary Cutlack of Tech Digest suggested there’s little difference between Google Chrome and the Firefox browser — some of the Chrome features that turned his head were already in Firefox, except he had to hunt for them.

“All Google’s effort has done is left me appreciating Firefox even
more, and extra-extra confused about why Google has gone to so much
effort to put out a product so incredibly similar to its rivals,” he wrote. “So
thanks very much, Google. You’ve made me bring my browsing habits bang
up to date. I’ll remember to click on a few of your adverts some time
as a thank you.”

OK. Bottom line here. Am I going to try Chrome when the Linux version comes out? Of course. If for no other reason than to satisfy my own curiosity, I must give it a shot.

Am I going to like Chrome? Hard to tell, though probably not. For me, the selling point will be its speed. Firefox occasionally blows up real big in memory, especially when I have a lot of browser tabs open. That, and whether the privacy issues and license agreement are ironed out.

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