Forbes Contributor: "Why You Should Stop Using Google Chrome after Shock Update"

From my Google feed — Forbes recently published Why You Should Stop Using Google Chrome After Shock Update

(yes, forbes - and others - using clickbait title as usual)

Visual TL;DR
For a neat visual summary (via tweet)


  1. Chrome's plan to greatly reduce data collection pushed back 2+ years
  2. However, the plan actually introduces “significant [fingerprinting] risks"
  3. Chrome currently harvests by far the most data from its users
  4. 100% of Chrome collected data is linked to you, personally
  5. Harvested data linked to you include:
  • Your Location
  • Your Browsing History
  • Your Audio Data

While there's a lot to recommend Google Chrome (65% global share), user privacy unsurprisingly is not it's strongest feature, thanks to the nature of its business model.

Quotes from the piece:

Google’s Privacy Sandbox blogs highlight that third-party cookies undermine user privacy, yet they’re allowed by default in Chrome. — Security researchers Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry

“Chrome is the only major browser that doesn’t offer meaningful protection from tracking,” … introduces “significant [fingerprinting] risks.” — Mozilla

Of course, people fall into the usual categories with stuff like this:

  1. Those who care enough about privacy to shift browsers
  2. Those who don't care too deeply and are perfectly happy to continue being fingerprinted/profiled for targeted marketing/messaging
  3. Those who don't know better or seriously just can't be bothered
  4. I probably missed at least one other category

I'm curious which categories many of us in OzB fall under?


For those thinking it's too hard to shift browsers, it only takes a minute or so to transfer bookmarks, etc.

FWIW, I use Google products significantly for work, and for this I specifically prefer to use Chrome, e.g., Google My Business, Analytics, Search Console, Ads, Drive, etc. For everything else, I use Safari, Firefox… and now that I know it exists(!), the DuckDuckGo browser.

Poll Options expired

  • 55
    TBH, happy to be profiled inc my (one way) data-sharing arrangement with Chrome. Targeted ads ftw.
  • 185
    Yeah, thanks for letting me know, but it's too hard to shift browsers.
  • 27
    Didn't know about this. I could ditch Chrome.
  • 41
    I like Chrome but not this much. Adios muchachos. Punks.
  • 378
    Knew the privacy issues, ditched Chrome ages ago. #wow-you're-slow


      • But its not the worst that happens…. not by a long shot.

        • Ok, what is the worst that happens?

  • +3

    Always used Firefox from very early builds, with max privacy settings and tracking protection enabled, default browser in both PC and phone. Don't care what happens to Chrome.

    • +4

      Why wouldn’t you want to care about your digital privacy? You have blinds/curtains in your home for a reason don’t you?

  • +8

    Don't waste cognitive cycles on this attention-seeking shit.
    Firefox + Ublock Origin + SponsorBlock + Bye Rupert
    You can use it on Android with add-ons too

    • +1

      Bye Rupert
      Installing this extension will block all websites that Rupert Murdoch controls.

      Where can I get "Only Rupert"?

    • +1

      Thanks for "SponsorBlock", never knew that

  • +14

    Couldn't care less

    I use pretty much every Google service there is, it organises my life and makes it much easier. Living without most of these or having to pay for them would be unbearable imo.

    The introduction of almost every Google product has improved the quality of my life in one way of another. Whether it's organising my day, keeping track of my to do list or free maps and navigation. Then I couldn't care if they have some anonymous data about my personality that could help improve the free services I'm getting or might help improve targetted ads that I ignore 99.9% of the time anyway.

    • +1

      It's awesome that Google's ecosystem just clicks for you. I genuinely think it's very well put together.

      Then I couldn't care if they have some anonymous data about my personality that could help improve the free services…

      However the author's tweet does point out:

      Why is #Google #Chrome the ONLY major browser whose privacy label says it links ALL the data it collects to user identities?

      i.e., it's not so anonymous, but is linked to unique user profiles.

  • +6

    The latest Firefox update is actually pretty good. I switched across from Chrome when it released and have stuck with it.

    Tried doing the same 2 years ago and was back with Chrome within a few days. Suggest people give it a go.

    • Thanks. Do u use Firefox or Firefox focus on the mobile phone?

      • +1

        I’m on iOS, so Safari + Firefox Focus (for the ad blocking).

        I’ve been meaning to give FF Mobile a go too though.

      • If you're on Android, give the full Firefox a try as you can get all the extensions.

    • +2

      Good to know, i was on FF for years and swtiched to Chrome maybe 4 years ago.

  • +9

    I work in product development and mate, I can tell you right now that no matter what browser you use, the websites you visit are tracking everything you do.

    Go check out, we use that. We see every mouse move you make, and tie it to you account. We track every button you press, every word you highlight, how long you spend on pages etc. Google Analytics as well as various other trackers.

    Tracking is unavoidable :)

    • +3

      I work in product development and mate, I can tell you right now that no matter what browser you use, the websites you visit are tracking everything you do.

      FFS - dont bring logic into this… LOL!!!!
      Think of the curtains.

    • +1

      So not much to be gained by just switching browsers then.

    • uBlock Origin blocks it.

      The tracking mentioned in the article is builtin into Chrome, so it is harder to block it, but on the web it is quite easy to stay anonymous.

    • this is the thing. it seems impossible to actually not be tracked.

      I never understood how it was legal for a website to track me after I left the website. that's where it should end.

    • +2

      I think the "tracking" that you mention is mainly analytics to understand user behavior for UX and website optimisation. This is different to the tracking that is discussed here, where a users search, browser history, etc are collected by third parties for targeted advertising and profiling.

      Deepending on the level of privacy settings, modern privacy protection tools (and even browsers like FF) can block these analytics that you mention as well, including GA.

  • +2

    Netscape 3.0 for me.

    • Never forgot the early days of internet came out and this popular initiative worked well for a while until it became known as "nutscrape"

  • Chrome for Web development
    Firefox on PC with tracker blockers
    Safari on ios for non-youtube use with adblock and trackers blocked
    Brave on ios for youtube (stops ads which adblock on safari can't stop)

  • +11

    I'm a strong advocate for Firefox, but not really for privacy reasons; the increasing dominance of Chrome's engine (which is what's also behind Brave and Edge) gives Google a lot of power over the future of the web. I'm prefer to be in a world where it's possible to use more than one codebase to view the internet.

    Admittedly, Apple is now more a brake on this than Mozilla.

  • Where's the option for 'never used Chrome much'? Admittedly, I'm typing this on a Chromebook, but I'm going to install something else real soon now :)

  • +1

    so they know im a horny bugger, good to know

    • +1

      Username checks out

      • +1

        ill check you out ;)

  • Been using Opera on my desktop and laptop. I like the inbuilt VPN toggle for US Netflix, the sidebar for inbuilt Whatsapp, and dark theme.

    But I’ve been using Chrome on mobile :/ . Is Safari a better alternative to Chrome on IOS?

    • Just downloaded Opera for IOS. Feckin heck so much faster than Chrome.

      • FWIW, Munki's and tderevko's comments below re ownership of Opera's "browser, privacy and performance apps" by Chinese entities.

    • Not sure why you were negged for asking an honest question, so have a +1.

      But I’ve been using Chrome on mobile :/ . Is Safari a better alternative to Chrome on IOS?

      The quick answer is Yes from a privacy perspective. Unsure about speed.

  • Opera ftw. Comes with it's own VPN

    • +6

      If I'm not mistaken, I think Opera is owned by a Chinese tech company now? So, good luck with that.

      • +1

        Opera 12 was the last good Opera version.

        • version 12.16 + surprise updates they did.

          I deeply miss Opera 12.x;
          even in 2021.

          I'm glad that there's another commenter here, who mentioned it.

          Vivaldi is so so.
          I've been using it on/off for 4+ years now.

          Otter is work-in-progress Opera 12.x clone ;-)

      • It's a bit confusing. The Opera Browser website says Opera Browser (1995-2021 Opera Norway), but according to Wikipedia:

        Opera is a Norwegian software company that specializes in web browsers, FinTech, and other services such as Opera News. The company's total user base, including users of its desktop browsers, mobile browsers and other services exceeds 380 million monthly active users.[10]

        Opera is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, with additional offices in Europe, China, and Africa.[11][12][13] On July 27, 2018, Opera Software went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange, raising $115 million in its initial public offering.[14]

        In 2016, the company changed ownership when a group of Chinese investors purchased the web browser, consumer business, and brand of Opera Software ASA. The remaining assets were renamed as the Otello Corporation.[37] The ownership change was initiated in February 2016 when a group of Chinese investors offered US$1.2 billion ($8.31 per share) to buy Opera Software ASA,[note 1][38] though the deal reportedly did not meet regulatory approval.[39] On 18 July 2016, Opera Software ASA announced it had sold its browser, privacy and performance apps, and the Opera brand to Golden Brick Capital Private Equity Fund I Limited Partnership (a consortium of Chinese investors led by Beijing Kunlun Tech Co and Qihoo 360) for an amount of US$600 million.[39] The transaction for sale of Opera's consumer business was approved on 31 October 2016 by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.[40] On 4 November 2016, Golden Brick Capital Private Equity Fund I L.P. completed the acquisition.[41] After divesting itself of the Opera browser and brand, Opera Software ASA[note 1] changed its name to Otello Corporation ASA.[42]

        So, I'd say yes, Opera is Chinese (or "backed by Chinese investor"), but they kept the Headquarters in Norway.

        • The Opera HQ is in Norway, however the founders of Opera moved on,
          along with some key developers and staff, and they founded a different company - Vivaldi.

          Opera then took investment from a Chinese company,
          and Opera too followed the 'Chromium route'.

          Vivaldi focuses on building / maintaining a rich, customizable UI, for the Chromium browser.
          The cost/energy of maintaining a browser engine is too much,
          and it's dominated by Google and Apple to a smaller extent.

          So, Vivaldi tries to give power users a lot of functionality,
          without the need for extensions and innovative browser features.

  • I never used Chrome anyway. Firefox and Samsung Internet on my phone.

    • +2

      Good luck with the Samsung

      • I'm using Samsung Galaxy and they are collecting my info already, so it's better to give it to one company than two.

  • Eh I moved to Chrome after using Firefox for aeons since it felt slow. After seeing this, I was like, you know what, why not.

    Firefox actually feels good, might stay with Firefox until something happens that push me.

    • Firefox usually has those bad memory leaks
      and slow browsing experience, but Firefox 89 is actually very good.

      Slick, polished interface.
      Video overlay feature now.
      Lots of small improvements too.

      • I think the last time it pushed me to Chrome was how the supports for the extensions that I used to use were going to be cut off. Firefox did feel bit slow compared to Chrome back then, but I was kinda using it for the extensions.

        I don't think I have any of those issues now. Extensions I used to use are fully functional, it feels OK ish? Chrome do look slightly more "polished" but I feel like that is more because I am used to their UI interface.

        So I might stay until something else pushes me.

        I think I tried to make moves to Edge, at some point which didn't work because Edge sucked back then (when it first came out).

        • MS Edge pretty acts & behaves like Chrome,
          except that it's integrated to become part of the Windows OS (eventually),
          as enterprises have made that their default browser and locked Edge to open up content/files (eg. PDF)

  • op doesn't say whether the main browser useage is on PC or phone , it all varies I use chrome on PC and like to think I have some control via firewalls, anonymous browsing etc dont use my phone for anything internet related phones are to make and receive calls and send and get texts nothing else

  • -3

    Wont matter much, all of them regardless who you uses all collect data

  • +2

    I hate when people make polls with biased options

    • +1

      Sorry it sounds that way, though I really did make an attempt to make it less biased.

      FWIW as per my updated post, I use Google products a lot both for work (Google My Business, Analytics, Search Console, Ads, etc.) and personal use.

      Overall, they offer great services, and as a UX champion I especially appreciate the fact that they really do care about improving the user experience — motivated for their own ends of course, but hey, a better user experience is good for everyone!

      • +2

        Its more that 4 of the options are against the use of Chrome, and the only one that is for it makes the voter sound like an idiot for doing so ("I love targeted ads aha")

        It's a great post, with lots of good and needed discussion - but the poll is very biased against Chrome, and so the answers have followed suit.

        • I see what you mean. Wish I could update poll options. Maybe this is more balanced?

          • Chrome is great. Happy with extensive personal profiling. Targeted > Gerenic ads any day.
          • Some discomfort with data harvesting, but not enough to leave Chrome.
          • This level of personal data capture is news. I'll consider Chrome and alternatives.
          • Not okay with the comprehensive data profiling, looking for alternatives now.
          • Knew of the privacy problems and left Chrome ages ago.
          • @Member 0230: They are better, but the ship has sailed haha. Everyone who will vote has voted. Was only giving feedback for the sake of feedback :)

  • You are the product.

  • I am not too much worried about privacy as I know that no matter what, there is a way to get your data. Whether it is Chrome or others, as long as you are connected to the internet, your data is not safe.

    However, only thing I don't like about Chrome is it hogs memory. I have tried various browsers except Edge and Brave, but end up going back to Chrome. It's mostly because of the extensions that help in improving productivity. There are so many good extensions on Chrome that you don't find in other browsers.
    Recently I saw Chrome was hogging nearly 2.5 GB memory with 8 tabs. I opened Firefox and with only tab, it was occupying 1.75 GB. All on Mac

    • +2

      You can use chrome extensions on edge. That would have also stopped me moving across if they didn't let you install chrome extensions.

  • +1

    I am not too much worried about privacy as I know that no matter what, there is a way to get your data. Whether it is Chrome or others, as long as you are connected to the internet, your data is not safe.

    I don't know why so many people feel this way. I understand when people say that they're too lazy to do something about it but claiming that there's nothing you can do is absolutely wrong.

    Some simple things you can do:

    • Utliise end-to-end encryption for as many of your non-public chats as possible. It doesn't matter if you're just talking about puppies or buying milk. Install Signal and you'll find some of the people you know already have it.
    • Use a password manager so that you generate unique passwords for all your accounts. (Using the same password can be one way of linking all your accounts when your accounts get breached.)
    • Use an alternative frontend to browse certain websites like to browse reddit.
    • Go into the privacy settings for the products you use and configure them. They might not actually do anything but it's easy to do.

    You won't get the data collection to 0 but throwing your hands in the air because you can't doesn't really make sense.

    EDIT: I meant to reply to the post above.

    • Its more whether privacy/data collection concerns you enough to do something about it.

      At the end of the day the convenience of using say a "free" service like google maps, I'm cool with, even if they use that to collect data about me and target me with ads.

      Probably the only thing I do from your dot points is the password manager. I use self hosted bitwarden. While I'm not too concerned about data collection (cookies etc) I do care about securing my accounts.

      Also talking about cookies…. its so annoying every website now because of some EU law asking you if you accept cookies. I don't care about cookies, collect away! (+1 to chrome extension I don't care about cookies)

  • I swap between Firefox and Brave on the PC and use… Duckduckgo on the phone.

  • Work force chrome, although a serious e mail went out regarding security issues with laptops but not specifying what software is the issue, I assume it's Chrome now.

    I use samsung browser as it fits perfectly on large screen with controls at the bottom etc. But I do have chrome books which mmmmm sounds worrying now.

    I'm sure google would be asking if this guy is alright in the head with the shit I google, pornhub etc. I gotta burn through 500gb data a month some way or another.

  • +1

    I actually like Google Maps Timeline tracking my movements - especially now during COVID so I can know if I've been to a risk site during risk dates/times

    if/when they come for me, I've already had a good life - if the prison has free food, that's a win.

  • So people stopped using samsung browser on galaxy?

  • +1

    Safari all the way!

  • +1

    For all the privacy nerds using firefox

  • Just switched to FF. Are there any good alternatives for google maps?

  • For gods sake just use Brave browser. Its exactly the same. Your data belongs to YOU.

  • +2

    I guess that's why cashback always tracks on Chrome.

    • The cashback is only the start of ALL other trackings.

      It's also the reason why I never use the cashback apps,
      then again, I do use cashback (more than 1 company) via the desktop browser.

  • Firefox all the way

  • Microsoft is using #Bitcoin to help build a project that gives users absolute control over their online identity and privacy.

    This is only the beginning of what L2 can do to protect people's data online.

  • Fully shook - an advertising company collecting my data when I use their products?!? /s

    Pains me to hear about schools using GSuite :/

  • +2

    I recognize that Google is not a charity, so I happily allow their tracking to serve me with targeted ads in exchange for the high value services they provide to me for zero dollars.

    Without ads, there would be no free services like Google Maps, Street View, high-quality search, Gmail, YouTube, Android, Docs, Chromebooks, Android TV, and the tons of ad-supported websites out there.

    I don't think I am entitled to get something for nothing. Targeted ads are a small price to pay for what I get in return. If I'm going to see ads, I'd much rather them be relevant to me. I take responsibility for my own poor purchasing decisions and not blame ad companies for it.

    If too many websites have to go behind a paywall to survive, the Internet would be a very expensive service to use. I find it amusing how people post about how they are anti-Google and anti-ads on a website that is paid for by ads.

  • +1

    I'm still using Mosaic

    • +1

      Can ya send me a link on ICQ? I can’t seem find it in AltaVista.

      • Use Gopher

        • Finger it?

    • not Lynx ?

      • If Lynx still worked, I'd be all over it. I'd love a browser that was actually unable to play video and motion GIFs.

  • +1

    The comparisons shown are only Apple App Store Privacy Details. The argument here for fingerprinting is irrelevant as you can already fingerprint via the iOS API. This is not to say that Google's privacy practises shouldn't be questioned.

    In other platforms such as Web, we have ways to fingerprint you, whether you use Chrome or not, whether you use Incognito or not.

    I'm very divided on the issue of fingerprinting - it takes away users' privacy but it is also an effective way of reducing fraud.

  • +1

    Chrome eats memory like a horny teenager reads playboy. I moved to edge for work and Firefox for entertainment

  • DuckDuck Go looks good.
    Does Duck Duck Go disables cashback sites tracking?

  • I prefer chrome but nowadays I can't distinguish the two. Sometimes I only realise I've been using the wrong one when I can't find my bookmarks.

  • +1

    Chrome at work
    Brave & Duck Duck Go at home

  • +1

    Use Chrome with an adblocker. Check your score,

    I scored 100% with Ublock and the filters I use, 13% without Ublock. I expected 0% without so Chrome is doing something.:)

  • Chrome's not my main. I usually use Opera but some sites just work better on Chrome.

  • Does it matter if I use Gmail, Android phone and basically only watch YouTube?

  • Personally I’m not too concerned about privacy…however chrome is too resource intensive.

    Pretty sad that some say it’s hard to switch. It couldn’t be easier, those people are just lazy. Every major browser will import your stuff from the old one nowadays. Any layman can get it done in a minute lol.

  • People use Chrome? Wow.. why, didn't they get sick of your computer fans trying to take off?

  • Would using chrome still be okay if you have vpn running all the time?

  • +1

    It's hilarious that people use search engines, social networking tools, have GPS enabled phones and think they've got privacy. The brand name on your bottle of poison doesn't make a difference.

    • Actually, I discovered just now it does.

      Key findings from the paper Google Data Collection | Vanderbilt University (2018), emphases mine:

      • A dormant, stationary Android phone (with the Chrome browser active in the background) communicated location information to Google 340 times during a 24-hour period, or at an average of 14 data communications per hour. In fact, location information constituted 35 percent of all the data samples sent to Google.

      • For comparison’s sake, a similar experiment found that on an iOS device with Safari but not Chrome, Google could not collect any appreciable data unless a user was interacting with the device. Moreover, an idle Android phone running the Chrome browser sends back to Google nearly fifty times as many data requests per hour as an idle iOS phone running Safari.

      • An idle Android device communicates with Google nearly 10 times more frequently as an Apple device communicates with Apple servers. These results highlighted the fact that Android and Chrome platforms are critical vehicles for Google’s data collection. Again, these experiments were done on stationary phones with no user interactions. If you actually use your phone the information collection increases with Google.

      • Google has the ability to associate anonymous data collected through passive means with the personal information of the user. Google makes this association largely through advertising technologies, many of which Google controls. Advertising identifiers—which are purportedly “user anonymous” and collect activity data on apps and third-party webpage visits—can get associated with a user’s real Google identity through passing of device-level identification information to Google servers by an Android device.

      • Likewise, the DoubleClick cookie ID—which tracks a user’s activity on the third-party webpages—is another purportedly “user anonymous” identifier that Google can associate to a user’s Google account. It works when a user accesses a Google application in the same browser in which a third-party webpage was accessed previously.

      • A major part of Google’s data collection occurs while a user is not directly engaged with any of its products. The magnitude of such collection is significant, especially on Android mobile devices, arguably the most popular personal accessory now carried 24/7 by more than 2 billion people.

      • DuckDuckGo's What Does Google Know About Me? (which references the above) is easier to read though.

      • Problem is, Apple is closed source. Can't know what's going on because it'll never be disclosed. The whole Find My network thing is bare minimum evidence of all Apple devices constantly pinging each other and communicate the information to Apple.

        There is no privacy with any phone from a big tech company bar getting a Pixel and putting Graphene or Lineage on it.

      • Key findings from the same paper that you missed:

        • Google servers communicated significantly lower number of times with an iPhone device compared to Android (45% less). However, the number of calls to Google’s advertising domains were similar from both devices - an expected outcome since the usage of 3rd-party webpages and apps was similar on both devices.

        • Magnitude wise, Android phones communicated 11.6 MB of data per day (~350 MB per month) with Google servers. On the other hand, the iPhone device communicated just half that amount. The amount of data particularly associated with Google’s ad domains remained very similar across both the devices.

        • Although an iPhone user is insulated from Google’s location collection in this narrow experiment, Google still captures a similar amount of ad-related data.

        DuckDuckGo's What Does Google Know About Me?( (which references the above) is easier to read though.

        That's like asking Trump what he thinks of Biden. ;)

        I'm more interested in how people are actually affected by targeted advertising.

        • Good call @eug.

          Referencing syousef's original comment of:

          The brand name on your bottle of poison doesn't make a difference.

          I think it's fairer to say —

          1. From the key findings you raised: When interacting with Google services, the amount of comms chatter back to base is similar regardless of platform (iOS or Android)

          2. From the key findings I raised: A major part of Google’s data collection occurs while a user is not directly engaged with any of its products. The magnitude… is significant, especially on Android, where even an idle Android device communicates with Google ~ 10 times more vs Apple devices with Apple servers.

          • @Member 0230:

            From the key findings you raised: When interacting with Google services, the amount of comms chatter back to base is similar regardless of platform (iOS or Android)

            Not really, the findings I mentioned was in relation to Google's ad domains, i.e. the ads on the apps and websites that are used. Regardless of the OS, the data collected is similar as it's coming from the websites and apps rather than anything OS-related.

            In any case, how does Google's data collection negatively affect a person?

            • @eug: Hah. No expert, but I'll have a go!

              When an entity, whether one person or a multi-billion dollar corp, knows so much about you, let's see — your prefs on food, clothing, entertainment, where you live, bank, shop, what you shop for (including whether you're pregnant), your pro/anti-global warming views, your political leanings, your conservative/liberal worldview — all this is great when they are bona fide altruistic in their intent, and use all their power to benefit you.

              The question of course: Is Google that kind of entity?

              (Or Facebook, or Apple or…)

              • Obvious outcome: ads served to me are far more personalised, hopefully more valuable.

              • Probably less good: the potential of a filter bubble, a form of intellectual isolation / echo chamber.

              • Possibly worst is what the post raised — the possibility of shaping your online behaviour:

              Your identity “fingerprinted” by vast databases mined by billion-dollar algorithms, shaping how you shop, vote, think.

              Happy to hear from you / others on their thoughts on extensive personal data collection linked directly to one's identity.

              Note: As per my edited OP, I use Google apps and services extensively, and specifically use Chrome for those. Outside of work, my "Google footprint" is way smaller, but far from zero.

              • @Member 0230:

                Probably less good: the potential of a filter bubble(, a form of intellectual isolation / echo chamber.

                To me that looks more like a social media issue than Google.

                Happy to hear from you / others on their thoughts on extensive personal data collection linked directly to one's identity.

                Is there good evidence that Google is linking their data collection to everybody's specific individual identity, and specifically affecting those people negatively? Or is it just theoretical at the moment?

                Where should the point be where people take responsibility for their own actions?

                If I see beer ads on TV that resonate with me and I start drinking and become an alcoholic, is it the ad company's fault or my fault?

                If I choose to watch Fox News only and 100% believe that voting machines were rigged, is it Fox News fault or is it my fault for ignoring other news sources?

                If Google's algorithms show me ads for an item that interests me which I don't need, and I buy it anyway, is it my fault for not having self-control, or is it Google's fault for showing me the ad?

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