Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Google reacts to criticism over privacy

Google have reacted once again to criticism of its new project, Google Chrome. In a U-turn from its stated user agreement, Google is now saying it will reduce the amount of time it stores information entered into the so called ‘Omnibox’, a search box built into the Google Chrome web browser. Information will now only be stored by Google for 9 months instead of 18. Additionally all data would be anonymised within 24 hours, stripping the IP address from any data collected the company has said [Zdnet / Washington Post]. The company had to make a swift re-adjustment to its user agreement earlier after many users became unhappy with part of the wording which effectively handed Google copyright on material posted through its browser [BBC]. But some are still unhappy with Google Chrome because of the number of bugs in the program.
Tech blogs are full of comments about the problems affecting the browser, from sound problems on sites such as You Tube to copy and paste problems. Laptop users with Synaptics touch pads have reported problems and many have complained that some websites do not function properly. Security has been one of the major criticisms of the new browser, something which the company has already addressed by releasing a patch for the product [Zdnet]. Aside of the bugbears, most users have praised the simplicity and speed of the browser though many have said they miss the Google Toolbar something which is unavailable for Chrome. The Chrome is beginning to need a bit more polish it seems [CNN].
Google isn’t the only company in the firing line in the browser wars. Microsoft’s IE8 Beta has been criticised after users found a number of incompatibility issues with several add-ons. Some have also spotted issues with Symantec’s Norton Internet Security. Launching IE8 results in the NIS phishing protection being switched off. According to a number of forums this is due to a conflict of security features in IE8 and those in NIS. However it has caused much concern amongst users. Many have also found that having downloaded the new browser, they are stuck with it. There is no way to un-install the program and revert to IE7, at least not without a great deal of work and technical know how. Such issues may hand Google and Firefox a victory as some users switch browsers. But the war is certainly not over yet.

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