Maybe I (or someone) inspired by custom browser project like the OPs, will someday bundle FF with crucial add-ons for iOS and ship that through Github. It would probably need a dev account to install it in iOS/iPadOS, but it sure would be worth it. What I don't know is if regular FF add-ons (uBlock, cookie autodelete, etc.) will work on iOS FF since it runs with a bundled Safari webkit renderer, another Apple iPhone v1 2008-era-restriction for such delicate piece of hardware (weak battery, mem and cpu) that makes no sense now with powerful 2020 devices.
> Maybe I (or someone) inspired by custom browser project like the OPs, will someday bundle FF with crucial add-ons for iOS and ship that through Github. It would probably need a dev account to install it in iOS/iPadOS, but it sure would be worth it.
If you're going to distribute it outside of the App Store, then the restrictions on JIT and third party addons wouldn't apply. You could conceivably have a full port of Firefox installed via AltStore (for non-jailbroken devices) or Cydia (for jailbroken ones).
Safari ticks all the boxes for me:
- Power consumption
- Minimal UI that is elegant and easy on the eyes
- Font rendering is much nicer (especially when compared to Firefox)
- Enter a word in the search bar and usually Siri will show you the exact website and just select it to go there. Other browsers will take you to search page first then you select the first result to go there
- SMS integration for 2FA
- Bookmarks UI is so much cleaner than any other browser.
Speaking of bookmarks, why the fuck does Edge and Firefox store any bookmarks created on your phone or tablet under a separate top level section "Mobile Bookmarks"? It is just so unnecessary and adds needless UI interaction just to get to it.
I'm using AdGuard, on both desktop and mobile. It works well enough for my needs.
Another 2 handy extensions: Tabs to Links and Tab Spaces.
I don't have any affiliation with any of these extensions; just a satisfied user.
- No AV1, Webp decoder
- No stable bookmark sync cross browser (for example, icloud bookmark sync to another Firefox in Windows is not stable)
except to these, Safari is still my daily browser.
Huh? That's exactly what Firefox's "Awesome Bar" does.
With Firefox, with the same starting conditions, there is no way to directly go to ikea.com by just typing in Ikea. If there is no history or bookmark then it will take you to a search for Ikea instead
If you are using macOS, Webkit is the most obvious choice because of superior rendering performance, memory usage and energy usage. Chrome/Blink and Firefox/Gecko are not even close (and probably will never be as WebKit is as 'native' on macOS as it can get).
But lack of openness and advanced browser features on Apple's side made me embark on a project to fork WebKit and build WebExtensions API support on top of it (so you can run all Chrome/Firefox extensions on it and get the best of both worlds). We are about half-way through with API coverage. Focusing on macOS first and we have popular extensions like uBlock or Grammarly running already. We also have an iOS prototype running some FF/Chrome extensions.
This sounds great! Lack of WebExtensions like uBlock Origin and RES were pretty much the reason I switched over to Firefox when Safari 13 dropped, but there is really nothing that comes close to the usability, performance and energy usage of Safari on macOS, so I have been looking for exactly this kind of project for quite some time. I wasn't sure this "compatibility layer" would be feasible to implement, but I guess even supporting uBlock Origin only would make me switch back to Safari in an instant.
Do you guys have a webpage/twitter I can follow or a beta I can sign up for?
(I run my own mail server so it might be in your spam)
> The decision was made that the next version of Firebug (codenamed Firebug.next) would build on top of Firefox DevTools, and Firebug would be merged into the built-in tools.
> And perhaps most importantly, we joined forces to build the best developer tools together, rather than compete with each other. Many of Firebug’s core developers are on the DevTools team, including Jan ‘Honza’ Odvarko and Mike Ratcliffe. Other Firebug Working Group members like Sebastian Zartner and Florent Fayolle are also active DevTools contributors.
> A huge thank you to them for bringing their expertise in browser developer tooling to the project!
If you are against Google pushing their "evil" stuff on people -- not just you, but all people -- well, Google thinks they can get away with that because people consider their browser better (or those people are just more comfortable with Chrome). Stuff like this, i.e. more options for people, is actually very helpful in reigning Google in a bit. Other Chromium based browsers such as Edge or Brave help as well.
BTW, my personal pet peeve with Firefox is lack of MIDI support, but there are lots of other things. I like that I can search Google by voice in Chrome, and my 6 year old loves that especially. (I don't know if ungoogled-chromium can do that though) I like the way you can grab tabs and drag them around and you know where they will go with Chrome before you drop them. (I have several monitors so this is a many-times-a-day thing for me and it feels awful in Firefox, comparatively). And I hate the ads and recommended sites on the "new tab" page.
Some additional rants:
> I like that I can search Google by voice in Chrome,
Chrome is a blessing for enthusiastic Google users, but not all people feel the same way.
> MIDI support
More access to HW is the last thing I want from the web at this moment. I'd rather that browser vendors focus on making the privacy footprint smaller, not bigger.
> And I hate the ads and recommended sites
You're going to see more of those on Chrome when uBo ceases to stop working along with all other manifest V2 extensions.
This is a big deal, and an irreconcilable philosophical divide. On the one hand web apps need to be able to compete with mobile. They should have access to gyros and cameras and location and offline and push - everything. Mobile apps are modern day Flash and we should strive to be rid of them in favor of a non-proprietary shared platform.
On the other hand the majority of useful information in the world is in document format. We need some sort of non-print-focused (pdf) format that we can use to share documents. Delivering basic documents through what are basically user-land operating systems (browsers) is overkill in every sense of the word: performance, security, accessibility, efficiency, etc.
What to do? The web is already on its march towards being an app platform. The next steps will be tough since Apple and Google also own the much more valuable mobile app ecosystems, and will try to protect them - but it's too late for the web now, the march is on. I think eventually there may need to be some sort of fork of the web to better satisfy both needs.
> how all this would harm Google in any way
Owning half the mobile app ecosystem is more valuable than sharing a web.
>Chrome is a blessing for enthusiastic Google users, but not all people feel the same way.
My six year old isn't so much an enthusiastic Google user, but she sure does like voice search, since it is really the only option.
>> MIDI support
>More access to HW is the last thing I want from the web at this moment. I'd rather that browser vendors focus on making the privacy footprint
smaller, not bigger.
I'm not really seeing Chrome suffering from privacy problems coming from MIDI devices.
But, you know, if you aren't into making music or learning keyboard or what have you, I guess you wouldn't care about MIDI. It's kind of a big deal to me (and again, 6 year old), so I'd miss it badly. Likewise, if you aren't into videochatting you'd probably be fine if your browser doesn't talk to your webcam or microphone. Etc. Ok.
BTW, if the browser doesn't support MIDI, and you want to use MIDI, you need to install native apps. Those are often a bigger threat, need to be made for each platform, etc.
Here's a CCS paper detailing why it's a bad idea for browsers to expose HW details without careful consideration:
> if you aren't into making music or learning keyboard or what have you, I guess you wouldn't care about MIDI
Considering the aforementioned problems, why would it make sense for browsers to prioritize MIDI above all else? And I highly doubt your six year old would refuse to use native apps, given the chance.
> (native apps) are often a bigger threat
I choose my native apps with care. For many apps, moving to the web doesn't mean that I would have to stop caring about trust. It just means that I would have to start being more careful about which sites I visit if browsers keep on exposing random HW details.
> need to be made for each platform
If you're only supporting Chrome, then you've stopped caring about portability. You're making it the user's fault if they don't use Chrome.
Who said above all else? That's pretty black and white. You could make the same argument if Firefox didn't support, say, microphone or camera. If you don't happen to use them (say, you don't use video chat as many didn't prior to 2020), you could ask why they are so important.
It's just one thing that Chromium does (and has done for year), that Firefox doesn't.
>And I highly doubt your six year old would refuse to use native apps, given the chance.
Which native app? The one she uses only works in a browser, and wouldn't work natively because it uses other things a native app can't use (such as YouTube interaction/synchronization). Also the graphics are far superior to anything I've seen not done in a browser, because it taps into other things that would be immensely difficult if the browser didn't make them available at a pretty high level.
And that app works on her Chromebook, as well as on my Windows and Mac machines.
I get that you like Firefox, but I don't see "you can just do that with a native app" as a great advertisement for it.
I'd suggest trying it out before writing it off.
Firefox has robust tab dragging. You can drag tabs all around. You can select multiple tabs and drag all of those.
As for the other things (MIDI etc), is there any confusion?
Not saying it's right, just saying there's certainly a tradeoff.
Firefox has made claims before about changes that specifically affect firefox performance: https://www.techradar.com/sg/news/mozilla-claims-google-has-...
And I'm sure you've dragged tabs around, maybe you don't care about the different experience, but it's hard to deny you've seen it.
There are tons of web apps, games, etc that "people want." Maybe you don't want them, but other people do. Even HackerNews is more than browsing, since you can post to it.
I get that some people want their browser to do a very limited subset of the things that a browser like Chrome can do. I don't think that is actually the view of Mozilla, but if it was, and they actually advertised that, I suspect they'd have even lower usership.
So I should develop my creative app as a native app because it needs hardware access and browsers don't support that. And browsers shouldn't need to support hardware access because app developers should just build native apps.
Maybe you should try my app. (try it at https://pianop.ly/grid.html ... it works ok in Firefox in "player piano" mode)
All the other stuff other than MIDI, browsers support just fine. (including one critical thing, ability to embed, synch with and overlay on top of youtube videos)
Browsers support an awful lot of things, because people want that. I can tell you with regard to my app, I highly doubt a single developer could build it as a native app that was available to as many people.
I also suggest that pink is a color of the rainbow, which is an even worse offense from my point of view. :)
It didn't go well.
But I guess we are doomed to repeat mistakes of the past.
I don't understand that one, my new tab page is blank on FF, it's nothing more than a setting.
Under Options > Home, select "Blank Page" for "New tabs" and for "Homepage and new windows"
That should do it. You can also optionally uncheck content in the "Firefox Home Content" section.
On the other hand, Chrome on mobile does this too and there's no setting at all to turn it off.
Also video playback can be less smooth occasionally.
There is also the Language Tool extension . I've discovered this recently and I'm really impressed. I don't use the online service, I run my own server with French and English n-grams and the experience is very good. It auto-detects the language and integrates well in the UI.
I wish transparent multi-language support was built in, though.
The feature must be broken or blocked by adblockers I presume.
1. Extensions - almost anyone have some kind of extension installed, and Chrome absolutely wins in that category. that prevents people from switching over to Firefox. Personally I know people that switched to Firefox only after I showed them the extensions they us or an alternative exists on Firefox.
2. Advertisement - Google have a lot more advertising resources than Mozilla. For example, every new Android phone with Google Play Services ships with Google products already installed including Chrome (sometimes as the only browser).
It's not unfounded to think that most people will use the same browser they're using in their smartphone.
I have a bunch of extensions installed on Firefox and don’t use Chrome. What are the Chrome-only extensions I’m missing that means Chrome “absolutely wins”?
One specific circumstance which impacts me is the Capital One virtual credit card extension (https://www.capitalone.com/applications/eno/virtualnumbers ) which if one clicks on "Get It Now", from a copy of Firefox, one ends up on the webstore: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/eno%C2%AE-from-cap...
Even consulting the page source (view-source:https://www.capitalone.com/applications/eno/virtualnumbers/) shows some mentions of Firefox but certainly no mozilla.org URL or .xpi that would imply they're serious about that claim.
The fact that I can run extensions on Firefox for Android is a huge enough win that it's my default system browser.
Another issue is he press. The press is usually very Firefox-positive and always covers it. They might turn on Firefox if it started blocking ads.
So you pretty much have to have Chromium as a backup if you ever need to research non-Anglo content.
I can see people moving to Chromium because of this and other similar problems with extensions being broken (like the tridactyl thing).
Since you mentioned Tridactyl you might be interested to know that I wrote my own command to inject Google Translate on demand .
The extensions you mentioned were removed because they execute remote code. Mozilla are trying to tighten these restrictions . I think Chrome is moving in a similar direction. I don't think that will affect the user script work-around as they execute in the page context, but I could be wrong.
No per site process isolation, Firefox on X11/Linux is baaaad, and that's just the beginning.
X11 is an old display protocol predating modern concepts of application sandboxing. It gives gives windows lots of control, like allowing them to move the mouse, enter keystrokes, etc. Basically, anyone who has an X11 handle has the same level of access as the user. In Firefox, the process that's supposed to be sanboxed (the content process) has precisely such a handle.
I need device emulator (with editable user string), request blocking and remote device (for webview debugging).
Without this project, there wouldn't be a way to really make use of the fact that chromium is open source. It frees the world's best browser engine, which IMO is awesome.
The fight is not illusory, and while Firefox may depend on advertising for financial reasons (although I'm not sure how much it currently is), it is not fundamental to its existence. If someone came along and replaced that money, they would leave it behind. Google on the other hand, is built solely on its ability to gather information about its users and exploit that as much as possible. The two are not the equivalent that your argument claims.
Google’s Safebrowsing feature alone (that is used in Firefox, too) is a privacy nightmare. They literally have all cookies and all user secrets of all websites that seem “untrustworthy”, which is basically all domains that are not cert pinned in chromium or firefox.
I know this because I initially wanted to implement safebrowsing support for my own browser stealth, but decided against it.
Also, the google PREF (due to safebrowsing background service) cookie isn’t deleteable without physically removing the firefox profile or at least the sqlite databases, just as a hint on whether you are trackable or not.
95% of Mozilla's 2018 revenue were generated by Royalties , of which 91% are generated by search engine providers. That's a whopping $391 million USD - it will be pretty difficult to fill this gap if Google pulls the plug.
Mozilla's behavior is consistent. Except for a few mistakes that were in my opinion minor, they proved trustworthy repeatedly.
Also let's get the facts straight... all major browsers today are financed from ads, all of them, including Edge, including Safari, including Brave discussed here, all of them.
The ones that aren't financed by ads are simply leaching off the work of others. Of course Brave is a leech while generating revenue from ads too.
AFAIK Apple is getting more money from Google than Mozilla does :)
You could say that if this deal went south, then Apple would keep funding Safari, however given they receive a ton of money right now, yes Safari is funded by ads and it goes without saying that they won't do anything to jeopardize those billions of dollars they are getting.
There isn't a single browser right now whose development isn't funded by ads.
Some organizational and individual users have paid for features.
The source code is relatively small, compile time is relatively small. Making small, privacy-focused changes is easy if one is comfortable with C.
One does not use a browser like this for financial or other important transactions. It can be used to do recreational, non-commercial web reading, such as news or other sites one finds posted on HN. One uses major ad-funded browsers like Chrome or Safari for internet banking or e-commerce.
1) Doesn't set any default search engine
2) Leaves a great deal of money on the table for no reason whatsoever
Option 2 is stupid, so it's no surprise none of the browsers do this.
Option 1 is a bad user experience regardless of finances. When users type stuff into the search bar, they expect results to come up. You could have a search engine ballot on first startup, but a subset of very-non-technical users is going to be confused by the dialog; there's no good reason to not set a default.
For example Apple would never implement ad blocking by default in Google's Search, not as long as they keep getting payed with _billions of dollars_.
And would Apple even bother to keep improving Safari if they weren't earning so much money from it? Given what happened to IExplorer back in the day, when Microsoft dropped the ball on its development after version 5, I'm not so sure.
Also Safari's content blockers are really easy to circumvent by anti-ad-blocking tech. Doesn't hold a candle to uBlock Origin, which isn't possible to implement on top of Safari. And the available content blockers are so bad many people don't even bother. Fact is Safari is a favorite for ads companies and publishers.
Yes, all browsers are funded by ads, that was the point.
Who could "replace that money" and why has this not happened?
Mozilla is a bit like Facebook/Google. Users are not paying for Firefox. Advertisers are paying (via Google). It is a service to advertisers. Users need only be enticed to keep using. Data is collected. The primary value of the data is not to usere but to the organisation that collects it and their customers. Mozilla sends data to Google (search queries) and gets paid for it.
This is not opinion. It is fact.
tl;dr - Firefox has some telemtry installed by default, including to GA. They have a deal with Google that allegedly prevents Google from seeing the data being collected.
Even so, their products don't do tracking the way Chrome does (which sends a unique identifier per device , which can be identified with the user and tracks you on all sites, and which does even more stuff when a site has GA).
I think comparing the two is ridiculous, and is more an excuse to justify using spyware as your daily driver.
 There is a unique ID on install, which is allegedly deleted by the browser, but may be stored in the updater. There is a "semi unique" ID set in its place which has high enough entropy (together with the location etc) to be a used as a unique ID. Aside for lots of other phoning home, logging you in to Google, etc.
My impression is they share patches enough, that they can't really be counted as different browser engines.
But perhaps that has changed?
The question was: What are the differences?
- Memory usage
- Energy usage
Then open https://browserbench.org and do the benchmarks.
Webkit will dominate Blink (and for that matter Gecko) in all categories.
My answer was "they are different" and implicitly "yes", partially because of the heavy development work that has been done since the fork seven years ago.
If you look at the featuresets and when they introduce features I think it's reasonable to conclude they have diverged enough that they can't just pull patches from each other.
Also, there was a webkit mailing thread back when they introduced their cut-down version of service-worker that said that most of the code from blink was basically unusable for them because of the differences.
Having an independent, unrelated implementation of the Internet's most popular client software is important.
That’s just a thing that some people say... but it’s actually not true. There is only one of many things in technology and everybody gets along just fine in those situations.
By that standard no FAANG is fighting any other FAANG.
There is no FAANG which is not competing for user data. Similarly, there is no major browser that deliberately lacks the feature set necessary to facilitate that data gathering. From a user privacy perspective, the difference between "major browsers", or FAANG, is not as significant as it is portrayed by many commentators.
The major similarities far outweigh the minor differences, and I think Mozilla would agree they are not looking to go in a profoundly different direction than Chrome or other major browser. They seek market share and so they will always match the others' feature set. As other comments in this thread elucidate, all these browsers are funded by advertising. As such, we cannot expect the differences to be significant.
If the majority of users are not concerned with things like telemetry, search box queries forwarded to Google, auto-loading resources, complexity, etc., then that is the user base to which Mozilla will cater. The small minority of users who find the status quo unacceptable are not important to Mozilla. Mozilla has enough cash they could prepare a separate, stripped-down bare bones browser in addition to Firefox for those few users who really take privacy seriously who want zero data collection by default.
They won't. That is why we see a user going through all this effort to "un-Google" Chromium. It would similarly take substantial effort to "un-Mozilla" Firefox. Both Google and Mozilla gather user data by default. They each phone home early and often.
The question is how many users would actually be interested in a radically different browser that, by design, made data collection and serving ads much more difficult. Perhaps that number would grow over time as word spread. We will never know. While this could be an experiment of great interest to some privacy-conscious users it is not an experiment of interest to Mozilla, chasing advert-funded "major browser" market share.
2. Some websites are developed targeting Chrome(ium) and even check for either that or a Microsoft browser. Yes, that still happens.
You could make an un-Mozilla’d Firefox, but at that point you’re better off running this, because once you remove the spyware, Chrome is actually a better browser.
Mozilla using a unique rendering engine doesn't alleviate bring funded for hundreds of millions of dollars by the world's biggest advertising company.
When Chrome came out I was amazed, like, I didn't even know how pleasant a browser experience can be until I tried Chrome. It felt revolutionary.
Now Firefox might have caught up but 7 years with all of these problems are still glued to that red/orange logo.
A project like ungoogled-chrome is a welcomed effort, as I cannot imagine going back to FF permanently. They just missed the train, IMHO.
Firefox hasn’t been the same Firefox ever since Mozzila replaced the rendering engine with the new Rust-based Servo (https://servo.org/). It’s fast and amazing and handles memory as well (and on my Mac, better) than Chrome/ium.
I don't think that's right; they may have cherry picked some parts, but gecko is not servo.
In my experience current FF handles many tabs much better than Chrome.
It's irrational to disregard the influence of emotions on the decision making progress.
From a technical perspective: the differences are IMHO negligible. Last time I tried FF I couldn't tell any difference. The reaction time of the brain for visual input is something like 180ms(?) and Chrome and FF are faster than that for locally bound functions.
From a moral perspective: sure, Firefox might be the better choice, although the Mozilla Org has a fair share of controversies.
Usability wise: from my last evaluation: minimal. There are functionalities that I liked in FF more, and others in Chrome. So again: from my personal view negligible.
Then there is what I stated above: the memory of cursing about Firefox because it simply "sucked" and Chrome was the best solution for it, you can argue that without Chrome FF would still suck.
The first time I seriously considered switching was when Chrome announced that they would change their API to make uBlock origin's life harder.
So far, I cannot see a strong reason why I should put effort into switching. I run several businesses and projects, all of them are on Gmail and using other Google Services, I have one profile for each business in Chrome, including Chrome's password manager that is storing locally the passwords for all the accounts. It's a lot of effort to switch to Firefox and as stated above at the time of this writing I don't see why I should bother. I rather put in time to run my projects than switching to a different browser, because a lot of HN people are into rust, anti google or whatever.
Chrome is integrated with a lot of Google Products and this makes my work overall more efficient than whatever the switch to FF would gain me as of now.
That might change in the future, and, of course, YMMV.
> Why did you reflect in the first place? Are you not interested in making rational decisions?
Actually, I didn't reflect about it until I read the comment of the original parent. I saw a lot of times the comment about "why not FF" on HN, whenever there was anything submitted about "fixing chrome".
To answer your last question: I also don't always force myself to make rational decisions. I DO get a Starbucks coffee once every couple months, I DO like to buy branded products sometimes even though it's not rational (running shoes for example). I DO engage in arguments online once in a while even though it adds not much to my life. So generally I am interested in rationality but I pick my battles and am ok with it when I just give in to my primal instincts. :-)
> NOTE: These binaries are provided by anyone who are willing to build and submit them. Because these binaries are not necessarily reproducible, authenticity cannot be guaranteed; In other words, there is always a non-zero probability that these binaries may have been tampered with.
Entering credit card information, bank account info, website logins, etc. into a binary uploaded by $random_internet_person is an absolutely terrible idea. Chrome is a dumpster fire as far as privacy goes, but I'd still trust it over that. This is why I use the new Chromium Edge as my main driver these days. Chromium reliability without the Google nonsense. Yes, you're still trusting Microsoft, but they own my OS already anyways.
If your distro is unsupported, you can install Nix or Guix and use that to install ungoogled-chromium.
The risk isn't in who compiles it. The risk is in the patches themselves coming from an untrusted third party, and being presented as a complete fork with significant functionality changes in support of the author's beliefs. If it was "here's a minimal patchset that's rebased against Chromium upstream, here's instructions to checkout Chromium and rebase our patchset onto it" then that would be possible to trust. This isn't that.
Apart from the patches, UC does two more things: substitute all "google.com" (and some other) domains with nonsense like "9oo91e.qjz9zk" in order to catch regressions; and prunes all binary files that are distributed with the original Chromium source.
The repository comes with a script that can do all three things. It is not a fork of Chromium, if that is what you were thinking.
I can't speak for other distributions, but for GNU Guix I have reviewed the patches and read the diffs for every new version. I assume most other packagers do the same.
Firefox, in contrast, is nowhere close. It includes trackers, "pings", "experiments", ads, sponsored search engines, bundled extensions, and phone-homes. Despire Mozilla's open-source and privacy rhetoric, its level of bundled spyware is not very different from any other commercial software product.
Maybe that is more a sign of how necessary it is, rather than indication that Mozilla is somehow an evil company.
"Phoning home" let's them know which features are being used and need to be maintained, and where the bugs are occurring. Experiments are how Firefox tests improvements in a controlled way. Sponsored search engines are how Firefox can exist at all.
This is part of the reason modern software is often crap. It gets sanded down to only the most used features, screwing over anyone with a slightly niche use case in the process.
Mozilla used to do just fine in making their browser before the hundreds of millions of "Google doesn't want an antitrust suit" dollars............
Much like Intel has cross-licensed patents with AMD in order to keep their competition viable enough to stave off monopoly and anticompetitive business practices accusations, it could be argued that Google’s promotional search agreements with Mozilla for Firefox are more to Google’s benefit than to Firefox’s.
What matters to me and (I bet) other consumers is that we have a good browser that isn't Chrome. One that tries to keep Chrome honest when it comes to web standards. Consumers actually have increased choice, we're in a better place than we would be if Chrome was a monopoly. If that helps Google avoid anti-trust scrutiny in this area, fine by me.
For now, Firefox still has the edge on features which enhance user privacy, so I hope to see a project like OP for Firefox and Edge soon. More choices is a good thing.
What I'd be concerned about is personal profiling, knowing which sites I visit, which forms I submit (including web search), etc.
Someone who doesn’t want that should not have their tools silently spying on them.
Not asking for spyware consent should be a criminal act.
If it's reporting telemetry silently, it's covert.
If it's not asking for permission first, for some percentage of users, it's nonconsensual, and is thus rightly qualified as malicious.
It's still malice even if the telemetry is just for product improvement, against the user's wishes for privacy. (It also has the side effect of informing the ISP and military intelligence surveillance apparatus of the user's usage habits.)
Tools that misuse the user's system to benefit the software manufacturer against the wishes of the user by exfiltrating their data without advance warning (covertly) are malware.
> It is covert malware, hidden in software that purports to do something useful.
You just described a software package with silent, no-opt-in telemetry, such as Visual Studio Code, Balena Etcher, the Adobe Creative Cloud, Mozilla Firefox, the Netlify CLI, the Gatsby static site generator, the Google Cloud CLI utility, and many others.
There were better days and there are better worlds. In Arch Linux and Debian you have to find out and install telemetry by yourself , . It provides neat insides to the community.
Like in Arch Linux Firefox is on the rise , Chromium on the fall  and Google Chrome while small is constant . While Debian community strongly prefers Firefox ESR  over Firefox  and Chromium .
Yes, statistics skewed to those who participate in community , but same could be said about forums, wiki, chatrooms, mailing lists. That's fine - community care most about those who help community. Anonymized highly technical telemetry is easiest way. I opt in. Bonus point - Firefox Public Data Report .
 Arch Linux pkgstats (2008) https://popcon.debian.org/
 Debian Popularity Contest (2004) https://pkgstats.archlinux.de/
A browser that's Actually Not Shady sounds pretty cool. Though bummed to hear in a sibling comment that they don't provide builds.
Would be cool to see a service that provides UC builds, updates, and sync in some kind of transparently secure way. Perhaps with optional ad blocking. Maybe $10/yr or something folks would pay. I would.
Maybe there's an easy way to patch that in?
Hilariously...its telemetry to Google is actually more invasive than Chrome, if you MITM it.
What does this even mean?
Being upset Firefox co-opts the user's own computer and network connection to spy on them, violating consent, to benefit Mozilla/Firefox's product development efforts.
That's not ridiculous. That's a human rights violation.
The header contains a "low entropy" random ID generated by Chrome upon installation. Coupled with other data, this can be used to track users even after clearing cookies and in private mode.
Note that you can reset at any time with the “--reset-variation-state” command line flag.
"Coupled with other data", anybody can track anything.
Damian George, Kento Reutimann, Aurelia Tamò-Larrieux, GDPR bypass by design? Transient processing of data under the GDPR, International Data Privacy Law, Volume 9, Issue 4, November 2019, Pages 285–298, https://doi.org/10.1093/idpl/ipz017
Michael Veale, Reuben Binns, Jef Ausloos, When data protection by design and data subject rights clash, International Data Privacy Law, Volume 8, Issue 2, May 2018, Pages 105–123, https://doi.org/10.1093/idpl/ipy002
Frederik J. Zuiderveen Borgesius, Singling out people without knowing their names – Behavioural targeting, pseudonymous data, and the new Data Protection Regulation, Computer Law & Security Review, Volume 32, Issue 2, 2016, Pages 256-271, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clsr.2015.12.013
Scrambles to check settings
It's over in chrome://settings/syncSetup now.
Jerrygoyal, any other pros or cons so far?
Go to chrome://settings/searchEngines
Click "Add" and instead of typing a search engine URL, enter
Select options, e.g., Advanced tab, Time range: All time, check all boxes. (The boxes will remain checked on the next invocation.)
Now, whenever the user wants to clear the browser data, she can just type "c" in the Address Bar.
No need to keep typing "chrome://settings" or keeping a tab open for settings.
User-agent can be changed through Developer Tools, without the need for extensions, however other headers are not accessible. Technical users who avoid using extensions can use a localhost proxy to delete headers, including Cookie where it is unnecessary.
Despite all the user fingerprinting that is done using HTTP headers such as User-Agent, relatively few sites actually require User-Agent and other headers. For almost all sites, the only requirement to successfully retrieve the page is the Host and, often enough, Connection headers.
However neither ad-blockers nor stripping headers prevents all the fingerprinting. If one is not happy with browser-based tracking, then using a "modern browser" with so many advanced features to retrieve a page of text is a trade-off, and, arguably, overkill.
The portable versions on that site are just preconfigured chromium updaters (called chrlauncher)
Some people would prefer their browser is not leaking so much information to Google, but perhaps appreciate the quality of the underlying Chromium application.
I have it installed almost exclusively to use the UniFi web UI, which is buggy as hell on Safari.
> These binaries are provided by anyone who are willing to build and submit them. Because these binaries are not necessarily reproducible, authenticity cannot be guaranteed.
It could be first step for de-googlifying
While certainly usable, isn’t the client-side experience one of the negative points of Gmail? (generic icons all over the place, resizing/reloading behavior erratic, load time, settings discovery hard, …)
I can see why you might not like it if you're used to Outlook or Thunderbird, but it meets my needs perfectly. It also integrates with Google Keep, Tasks, and Calendar, which is nice.
(Some people seem to seriously underestimate how good Smart Compose is---it's learned all of my favorite combinations of words and I can basically write entire emails and documents by typing a few letters and then mashing the tab key to accept all of the autocompletions)
In the end I found that Zoho mail had the best modern web UI that is comparable to Gmail (it is not amazing in terms of usability and has a lot of fussiness going on that is distracting) and very reasonable pricing for custom domains with a catch-all and so have been using them ever since. The Zoho app is also acceptable.
Fastmail is an alternative, paid product which imo is better than Gmail.
1. Download the .crx file(s)
2. Rename to .zip, unpack
3. Visit "chrome://extensions/" page
4. Select Developer Mode, then Load unpacked, select folder of previous extracted zip file
5. There you go.
0. Visit store, find extension, hit install
Not as easy:
Do the same, but now add 5 more steps.