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"... in the data they're collecting from Chrome users."

What percentage of Chrome users consented to the data collection? (Is consent even required?)

Does the data represent all Chrome users or only those who have consented?

Actually consented, as in understood the implications and freely decided that Google should have this data, probably none. That would take a lot of generosity, especially to pay that team of lawyers and technical experts, so that you have any chance of actually understanding the implications.

Unwillingly consented, that's the vast majority of Chrome Sync users. Unless you enable the end-to-end-encryption (for which they require a second passphrase, so probably less than 0.1% actually use that), they will use your data for ad profiling etc.. Yes, that is on page 1312 of the Chrome Sync privacy statement. (They're only required to write it into there, if they do it, so it is quite certain that they didn't just want the bad PR for nothing.)

Is consent required? Assuming they actually do collect this data from their Chrome Sync data or through similar personally identifiable ways, consent would be required in many jurisdictions, especially the EU.

However, if they cared enough, it would be possible for them to collect this particular data point without personal identification. You could for example create a UUID per installation that's only associated with this one data point. Or you could have a time-based solution where each Chrome instance goes out to "vote" for their default search engine e.g. every 4 weeks. If you then look at the statistics on a weekly basis, you can just take these values times 4 to even roughly correct numbers. It's certainly going to be representative enough, you don't need every browser instance to have their vote in every week's statistic.

Look at the linked patch.

These metrics are from UMA stats. They are collected from everyone who ticks the box to report stats when installing Chrome.

They only get histograms of counts of visits to search engines, not the entire URL, and not search engines or other sites not in the list of things they track (which is at the bottom of the file).

It is ticking that box I was wondering about. How many users tick it?


and other chrome-urls

These can provide useful data for me but not sure why I would want send the data to Google.

So that Google can make Chrome render fast on the sites most people use the most often, for example?

Well, the first question is why are the pages rendering slow to begin with?

One way to make the pages I visit load faster is to disable Javascript. Another is to remove (or block) advertising. Another is to put DNS data for these sites into local hosts or zone files.

Those actions are how I prefer to approach the problem.

However as far as I can tell, those are not actions Google wants to take. They have their own preferred approach.

It is possible there are users who are aligned with Google in terms of how they want to approach the problems created by misuse/overuse of Javascript and advertising.

It is also possible there are some users who have no idea why pages are slow to load.

Those groups might want to send usage data to Google.

However I am not in either group. I dislike the web advertising business that Google depends on and therefore must nourish and support.

As such, there is no reason I can think of why I would want to send data to Google.

Also, I have not checked but I wonder if Google is restricted in how they can use the collected diagnostic data. Are they prohibited from using it for the purposes of selling advertising?

Usage data helps us make UI changes. For example, if not a ton of people are using some functionality, we might prioritize modifying or removing it. When we make a change, seeing how it affected usage is an important part of verifying we did the right thing.

So if Chrome's ever made a UI change you disagreed with, then you're in a group that would have benefitted from sending Google usage data.

In terms of the restrictions on usage data, see https://www.google.com/chrome/privacy/whitepaper.html#usages... .

Having grown tired of graphical software back in the 90's I have little interest in graphical user interfaces and interactive use. Chrome has never made a UI change I disagreed with because I do not care about the popular graphical browsers.

I care about command line programs, less-interactive and non-interactive use. Truly, the best interface is no interface.

The whitepaper.html appears to explain how usage data is utilised in ways that help Chrome improve but does not appear to contain any restrictions on use of the data to help further Google's ad sales business, whether directly or indirectly.

It is the business model that I do not wish to support.

Producing software such as Chrome is just something the company is doing in the course of selling advertising and collecting maximal amounts of data from users, whether the data is anonymised or not.

I assume it's at best opt-out so 90-98% would be my guess. Although I'm talking out of my ass.


Take a look at Google's user-directed legal jargon.

They have slimmed it down to only a few pages and now have very simplified statements.

Obviously every statement is now very carefully worded...

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