For most people around the world Google is synonymous to the internet. One way or another most people find themselves using a Google product as Chrome especially has taken over the largest percentage of the search market.
While the popularity of Chrome cannot be disputed it does not automatically mean that it is the best out there. The search market is strange this way, it may just be because Chrome was one of the first truly modern browsers that it has taken such a large portion of the market.
Recently however, issues surrounding privacy, security and even performance have raised questions around the true value of Chrome as a browser. Considering the growing number of alternatives in the market people are starting to doubt the efficacy of Chrome as a truly safe and efficient browser.
Its time you do too. Chrome, maybe due to its dominance in the market, has fallen behind other browsers in a number of key variables.
The most important of these is privacy, a key part of this piece.
Chrome’s privacy issues are so numerous that it would be impossible for me to cover all of it in this piece. Important points however begin with Third Party Cookies and how Chrome is trying to deal with it.
Third Party Cookie Tracking
There is nothing as privacy invasive on the internet as third-party cookies. They provide a way for advertisers to track your activity across websites. Even Google who rakes billions in ad revenue from these advertisements realized how invasive these cookies are and announced plans to put an end to Third Party Cookies. And, considering that Chrome is the mostly widely used desktop browser on the planet, the news was much welcome for users who growing wary of the increasing levels of invasion by this technology.
However, we will have to wait two more years for the so-called ‘cookiepocalypse’. In a blog post Google explained the delay saying that the new plan was to phase out cookies over a “three month period” in mid-2023 “subject to our engagement with the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
This means that for the next few years, at least until Google enforces the ban on cookies, users will remain tracked across the web. This is reason enough to switch to other alternatives such as Safari, Firefox and Brave who all do better jobs in blocking third part cookies.
That said even post cookie-ban users cannot be ensured of their privacy as Google’s alternative to cookies may prove to be much worse than its predecessor.
Google’s appetite for personal data is ferocious and there is no reason to alter what is essentially their main revenue stream even in the name of increasing privacy for its more than a billion users. What we should expect is a half-hearted attempt to address this matter in a bid to please disgruntled users while still retaining the business model that yields it billions of dollars in ad revenue each year.
That is exactly what FLoCs are. And Google knows it. Forbes’ Zack Doffman puts it well saying:
‘Google readily (and ironically) admits that such ubiquitous web tracking is out of hand and has resulted in “an erosion of trust… [where] 72% of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or others, and 81% say the potential risks from data collection outweigh the benefits.” ‘
A senior Google engineer even admitted as much saying
“Research has shown that up to 52 companies can theoretically observe up to 91% of the average user’s web browsing history, and 600 companies can observe at least 50%.”