EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

12.26.13

On Google Chrome, ChromeOS, Chromecast, and the Lesser Benign

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Thoughts about Google’s self-branded free/libre Web browser, operating system (not just Android), and efforts which extend that to surveillance-rich computing (“cloud”) with DRM

WHEN Google first introduced the world to Chrome it was a Windows program (in 2008). Google has an iffy history when it comes to desktop GNU/Linux, but in recent years, especially now that Google is selling Chromebooks (running GNU/Linux), there is a gradual change of policy. GNU/Linux itself is improving, which makes it easier for Google to serve applications and service to GNU/Linux users.

The other day Chromebase was introduced [1]. It is basically a GNU/Linux computer which looks similar to an Apple iMac. Chromebase, as the name suggests, runs a locked-down operating system similar to Apple’s. This is where Google seems to be taking GNU/Linux, for better or for worse. People’s positions on this vary; some say it’s a good thing (attracting more users), others say it’s a step in the right direction, and some say that it’s a distraction which takes us further away from freedom-respecting GNU and Linux.

Then there’s Chrome, the Web browser. Android usually comes with it and they are difficult (if not impossible on some devices) to decouple. Version 31 recently came out [2,3], promising PDF viewing and Voice Search (lets Google record, then indefinitely retain one’s search strings and also voice) [4,5]. Google is eager to get developers involved in Chrome extensions (or Android extensions) [6], introducing Chromecast to them as well [7] (may include a lot of DRM). The main problem with the browser (Web-facing) layer is that interaction with distant/remote servers makes surveillance (domestic or overseas) very simple. Chrome hardly tries to prevent this and by default it is quite privacy-infringing, based on my findings over the years. Then there’s the problem with DRM, which Google now advances as part of Web standards (threatening the Internet as we know it, not just by abandoning net neutrality).

The sure thing is, Chrome and other well known browsers are becoming rather heavy (too many features at the core) while simpler, lighter options exist [8] (I like Rekonq myself). The same goes for operating systems. It does not, however, mean that the big and potentially clumpy options are bad; it’s just that in practice they’re being optimised not for performance but for surveillance, lock-in, capturing of one’s tasks (even PDF readings/multimedia), and tying to various online service (YouTube, Microsoft's surveillance-friendly search, or remote-stored bookmarks).

Google — like Ubuntu — shows that just because something is free/libre software does not automatically make it benign.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Does the LG Chromebase look too much like an iMac?

    Is the LG Chromebase too much like an iMac? And will Apple sue because of it?

  2. Google Launches Its Latest Chrome Web Browser, Version 31

    Chrome 31 includes some 25 bug fixes to the world’s most popular Web browser.

  3. Google Chrome 31 out now

    Google Chrome for Mac, Windows, and Linux has reached version 31, bringing the features we saw in the Chrome beta. In this update you’ll find…

  4. Google: Chrome safer than Acrobat for PDFs

    Google’s François Beaufort has confirmed that starting with the Chrome Canary release for developers, users who have downloaded a PDF while in Chrome will find that the browser itself opens the file, rather than the native application.

  5. Google Delivers Voice Search Hotword Extension for Chrome
  6. Google Woos Developers with Packaged App Strategy, Updated Plumbing

    At its recent Chrome Developer Summit, Google officials made more clear than ever that they see the Chrome platform as a strategic on-ramp for Google’s services, with packaged apps and mobile apps playing a central role in that effort. As I’ve been covering recently, Google Chrome is, effectively, behaving much more like an operating system, in the sense that it is gaining plumbing and services that make it an effective springboard for applications.

  7. Google: Hey, devs – grab ahold of our Chromecast pipe and work it

    Google is working on a webbified development to build the “next generation” of Chrome Apps.

  8. 5 lesser-known browsers: Free, lightweight and low-maintenance

    Are Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome slowing your machine — or are they simply more than you need? We look at some alternatives.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Apple- and Microsoft-Friendly Media Continues Attacking Android/Linux

    Some of the latest examples where corporate media (funded and run by large corporation) distorts facts, selectively covers facts, and generally serves to protect the Apple-Microsoft duopolist world view



  2. Qualys Admits That Its Scare Campaign (So-called 'GHOST') Somewhat Baseless

    Even the company that bombarded the media with its "GHOST" nonsense admits that this bug, which was fixed two years ago, does not pose much of a threat



  3. European Unitary Patent and Court System in Trouble

    New resistance to the Unitary Patent amid allegations of misconduct in the European patent authorities



  4. Text of Ruling/Decision Against Željko Topić (Regarding Audi as a Bribe)

    The legal loss of Željko Topić laid bear for the public to see even outside Croatia



  5. Media Coverage of Demonstration Against Jesper Kongstad of the Administrative Council (EPO)

    Last week's EPO demonstration has been covered by Danish media, raising awareness of the "banana republic" state of the EPO



  6. Links 29/1/2015: Android Shipments in 2014 Exceed 1,000,000,000, LibreOffice 4.4 is Out

    Links for the day



  7. Corporate Media, Led Astray by Patent Lawyers, Continues to Distort the Reality of Software Patents Post-Alice

    The press of the rich and the powerful continues its attempt to preserve software patents, despite the US Supreme Court's decision to abolish a lot of them on the basis of abstraction



  8. An Estimated 1,000 EPO Employees-Strong Legion Engulfs Danish Consulate to Protest Jesper Kongstad's (of Administrative Council) Protection of Benoît Battistelli

    A large protest waged by staff of the EPO targets one of the key facilitators of Battistelli's terrifying tyranny



  9. Links 28/1/2015: Ubuntu Touch Windowed Mode, NVIDIA Linux Legacy Drivers Updated

    Links for the day



  10. Breaking: EPO Vice-President Željko Topić Loses Defamation Case in Croatia

    The EPO's notorious Vice-President, whose appointment at the EPO is still raising some alarming questions, has just lost his case in Croatia (one of many cases), motivating us to accelerate coverage about the persona known as Željko Topić



  11. Qualys Starts Self-Promotional FUD Campaign, Naming a Bug That Was Already Fixed 2 Years Ago and Distros Have Covered With Patches

    Responding to the media blitz which paints GNU/Linux as insecure despite the fact that bugs were evidently found and fixed



  12. The Openwashing of Microsoft is Now Threatening to Eliminate the Identity of Free Software

    More openwashing of Microsoft, including in the corporate media, shows just to what great an extent and how quickly the old "Microsoft Open Source" Big Lie grows feet



  13. Links 27/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Dell Precision With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft's Media Attack on Free Software and GNU/Linux

    Brainwash war is still being waged by Microsoft and its friends to convince people that Windows is universally dominant and that Microsoft is now part of the Free software world



  15. Microsoft Accounting Practices After Fire Again, After Previous Abuses and Book-Cooking

    After the infamous IRS brawl comes another confrontation between Microsoft and the SEC, which is unhappy with Microsoft for seemingly cooking the books again



  16. Links 26/1/2015: Debian 8.0 “Jessie” RC1, Linux Kernel 3.19 RC6

    Links for the day



  17. Links 25/1/2015: Android Wear 5.0, Tizen in Bangladesh

    Links for the day



  18. IRC Proceedings: January 11th, 2015 – January 24th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  19. Links 24/1/2015: Zenwalk Linux Reviewed, Netrunner 14.1 Released

    Links for the day



  20. The Latest 'Microsoft is Open Source' Propaganda a Parade of Lies

    Microsoft myth makers continue their assault on what is objectively true and try to tell the public that Microsoft is a friend of "Open Source"



  21. Apple -- Like Microsoft -- Not Interested in the Security of Its Operating Systems

    Apple neglected to patch known security flaws in Mac OS X for no less than three months and only did something about that vector of intrusion when the public found out about it



  22. As Battistelli Breaks the Rules and Topić Silences Staff, New European Parliament Petition for Tackling the EPO's Abuses is Needed

    The neglected (by EPO) Article 4a of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the European Parliament petition/complaint against the EPO's crooked management



  23. Links 23/1/2015: Red Hat on IBM Power, Meizu Leaks With Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  24. Links 23/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Manjaro 0.9-pre1

    Links for the day



  25. Microsoft is Dying Due to Free Software, Tries to Infect GNU/Linux With .NET and to Infect Moodle in Schools With Microsoft Office and OOXML Lock-in

    'Free' drugs (a proprietary software analogy) the new strategy of Microsoft in its latest battle against Free software, especially in schools where choice is a rarity (if not an impossibility), with the premeditated intention of forming dependency/addiction among young people



  26. Microsoft Symptoms of a Dying Company: More Boosters Depart, Back Doors Revealed, Microsoft's Outlook Cracked

    Bad news for Microsoft shortly before the marketing extravaganza served to cover much of it up



  27. The Collapse of European Patent Office Management Culminates With Resignations

    No blood is spilled, but even the management of the EPO is falling apart as the Director of Internal Communication is said to have just resigned



  28. New LCA Talk: Open Invention Network's Deb Nicholson on Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Deb Nicholson's LCA talk is now publicly accessible



  29. Links 22/1/2015: GNU/Linux Sysadmin Opportunities, TraceFS Introduced

    Links for the day



  30. Links 21/1/2015: Andrew Tridgell, Torvalds Being Baited

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts