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?
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.
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).
and other chrome-urls
These can provide useful data for me but not sure why I would want send the data to Google.
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 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?
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... .
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.
They have slimmed it down to only a few pages and now have very simplified statements.
Obviously every statement is now very carefully worded...