back to article Google vows to delete Chrome's unique client ID

Google is changing the way it handles the unique identifier that accompanies each installation of its Chrome browser. As noticed by H-Online, a Google white paper (pdf) says the company will now delete the unique ID after the browser updates itself for the first time. Google has confirmed with The Reg that the change will be …

COMMENTS

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  1. jake Silver badge

    Am I alone?

    Am I the only one who sees issues with google's datamining?

    Why, exactly, does anyone with a working central nervous system still use google, or indeed allow anything google related into their computer(s)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      You are never alone

      We am the hive mind.

    2. Cameron Colley

      @jake

      Please suggest a non-google search that works as well*?

      *(Bing is excluded because it's not less evil and anything using a proxy to google is excluded because Google are still getting hits and possibly still getting paid)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        One that works better

        I don't want a search engine that works as well as Google because Google is not very good. I want one that works better therefore I use clusty.com

      2. jake Silver badge

        @Cameron Colley

        "Please suggest a non-google search that works as well*?"

        I just went thru' my cache (which I haven't cleared in many months[1]), and I couldn't tell you the last time I actually used search engine. It's hardly necessary ...

        [1] I'm trying to break Firefox on Slackware 13.0 ... so far, it hasn't even slowed down.

    3. Pat 11

      Why

      Because we choose to trade information about us for services. And they are the best "free" cloud services out there, nothing else works as well and ties together so well.

      We just have to hope regulation prevents them doing anything too evil (their mantra won't of course, that's just marketing).

  2. Hollerith 1

    Oh, that's OK then

    "Google also says that its logs drop the cookies and scrub the last octet of your IP "within at most 24 hours"."

    Because they can do what they need within 24 hours?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think they are confused...

    "Do no Evil", "Don't be Microsoft" are two famous claims of how they are supposed to run their multi-billion dollar business

    Well... they sure fail on the first one these days, and they've far suppassed anything Microsoft has ever done when it comes to invasive data mining of unsuspecting users

    Yet... people still think Google are this big warm fluffy cloud that mean us no harm.

    They are a Corporation beholden to shareholders and investors and smarmy missions statements don't mean zip when it comes to finding new ways to monetise their assets (you are not their customer... advertisers are their customer... you're just an asset)

  4. scrubber
    Big Brother

    Borg

    Resistance is fertile.

    IE is MS; Safari is Apple; Firefox is bloated; and Lynx is text only...

    Opera appears to be the way to go.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      or..

      use IRON, as I am doing right now.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Alternative

    For those seeking an alternative, I utilize ixquick (www.ixquick.com) - I find the search results it returns are better than bing and not too far off Google.

    Of course, anything not supporting Google is a plus now...

    1. Chronos Silver badge

      Re: Alternative...

      You can also use Scroogle (SSL) as an anonymising proxy if you really need all the Google results such as shopping pages for the item you've already got that you're Googling to unbrick. There are search plug-ins for most major browsers over on Mycroft ( http://mycroft.mozdev.org ).

      Use the SSL variant. It makes man-in-the-middle snooping rather difficult (not impossible, but you knew that already after the recent MITM attack on OpenSSL using renegotiation).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Ixquick

      Yes indeedy, sir. These nice people also have an SSL service which offers the same level of obscurity as Scroogle. In a wired world where politicians are determined to own our very thoughts, obscurity is becoming a much sought after prize.

      https://www.ixquick.com/proxy/eng/help.html

  6. steogede

    Unique Identifier?

    If all they wanted was the number of successful installs, surely all they need is for the browser to phone home once when it has been installed. A unique identifier gives them the number of installs for each download - why do they want that?

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Abandon/abort rate

      Presumably the main thing they're looking for is the number of downloads that are never installed, as people are likely to ignore a failed install and go back to IE without reporting anything.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paranoid Androids

    The thing about the paranoid is that they can't be proved wrong, only right.

    So to all the paranoid anti-Google ranters on this site, I'm one of those happily using Google services. And whilst I agree I can't proove that there isn't a room at Google HQ where a man stroking a white cat pours over every detail of my online activity, I can report so far so good.

    Here's the deal... if you're all proved right one day then you can tell me you told me so. Until that day I'm going to assume you're all paranoid FUD-spreaders.

  8. informavorette
    Alert

    Google isn't evil, we sheeple are complacent

    There is Iron. Then there are other good browsers out there - maybe not as Chrome-y as Iron, but they have their own advantages. Users are free to install any of them. They know that Google gathers all data its software agents can get hold of, and they still use its products, after putting the "I accept" mark in the EULA out of their own free will. Google isn't malicious, it is just maximizing its profits in any way its users agree to. That's the same thing the mom'n'pop business around the corner does. No reason for Google bashing here.

    To paraphrase a recent editorial in another tech publication, Stasi 2.0 are we, the crowd.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What he said....^^^^^

      I appreciate the service Google provides, and accept the privacy implications.

      Search

      Maps

      Mail

      Stockmarket

      Chrome

      Android

      Use all the above, provided by Google, because they all work, and usually better than the alternatives.

      If at any point Google's future actions prove to be 'a bad thing', I will change. At the moment I see no reason to.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Idiot.

        Of course Ulbricht's not going to build a wall! Don't be stupid! He said he wouldn't, didn't he? And if he does, well, I'll just leave.

  9. Bilgepipe
    Thumb Down

    Eh?

    Chrome has a unique ID? I'm off to delete it right now.

    I DEMAND good/evil Google icons.

    1. Geoff Mackenzie

      @Bilgepipe

      You know what else has a unique ID? Your Windows installation.

      Delete away.

      (Not sarcasm, genuine recommendation).

  10. bluest.one
    Big Brother

    About Time

    It was this unique identifier that made me quickly uninstall Chrome a year ago, after I found out about it. It would seem, from the article that the identifier is used and then re-issued and is solely to do with updates, but it always came accross as marking Chrome out as 'spyware' - something which it hasn't really shaken off until I read this.

    This is the right decision for Goggle, I think, but they should have addressed it, or the perception that existed around it, a long time ago.

    Of course I'm not using Chrome or any other browser that doesn't have an adblocker that strips out horrible bloated flash adverts BEFORE they're downloaded and prevents delays in the time it takes to load pages, so ... I'm not really all that fussed at the moment about what is happening with Chrome, or Opera or Internet Assploder.

  11. Steven Knox
    Thumb Down

    Whew!

    "But why ship it at all. Is it really that important to track individual users through their first automatic (and silent) update?"

    Well, since it's per install, it doesn't track individual users, but individual installs. A shared computer would have the same unique identifier for each user, as would a single download subsequently installed on several computers.

    Glad that unique identifier is off our computers! Now to get rid of the one for Windows (or OSX or Linux or whatever), MS Office, any other software that "activates", the BIOS serial #, the TPM, the CPU serial #, the NIC's MAC address, the HDD serial #, etc., etc., etc.

  12. Arnie Sintheshed
    Stop

    Just use SRWare Iron instead...

    ...it uses the Chromium source code, but without any privacy issues. There is no reason anyone should use Chrome in preference to Iron, they're exactly the same thing but one does not track your every move.

  13. Waderider

    Militant ranters

    Just to echo sentiments above, railing against Google is stupid as although they take, they also give. You do have choices. Whereas Microsoft take lots of your cash, and give you crap products, which is a one sided equation.

    I know what I mind less. Everything is a compromise. Except linux of course, which is perfect.

  14. Gil Grissum
    Thumb Down

    IRON is better

    This type of "phone home" nonsense is why I won't ever use Chrome. I use SW Iron. It doesn't phone home. No thanks Google.

  15. David Simpson 1
    Black Helicopters

    Tinfoil hat anyone ?

    @ Jake

    Because their web services work incredibly well and are free to use.

    I have yet to have my identity stolen by a search company although maybe my pod hasn't finished growing yet, if I keep my tinfoil hat on they will never know where to find me.

    1. jake Silver badge

      @David Simpson 1

      "Because their web services work incredibly well and are free to use."

      What do they do that you can't get on your local box for free, without burning bandwidth?

      "I have yet to have my identity stolen by a search company"

      And yet they know everything you have done with their "service", and they can cross-reference that in any way that they see fit. Doesn't that ring a few alarm bells?

      "although maybe my pod hasn't finished growing yet, if I keep my tinfoil hat on they will never know where to find me."

      It ain't paranoia, it's reality. Maybe you don't know how data mining works?

  16. Chronos Silver badge
    Stop

    Mock all you like...

    ...but remember this: Once you've given your privacy away you can't just take it back again, especially if you have given it to an obsessive data mining and retaining outfit such as Google.

    As an aside, I can't help thinking that this apathy towards online security and privacy is the continuing evolution of the Geocities "DIG ME!" type people sans clue who think they know everything but, in reality, have very little idea of what goes on in quiet corners of the Internet, let alone the consequences of their actions online and all the little ways their habits get noticed. It's also perplexing that they see loss of control as a small price for everyone to pay and extol the virtues of a privacy-free society before they have even the least idea of how big that bill is going to be when it lands.

    Your faith in human nature is touching. Naïve, perhaps, but touching.

  17. James Woods

    yahoooooo

    I actually don't mind using yahoo. I only wish their site was a search engine rather then a site for teenagers & comcast investors. When you look at the comcast homepage and yahoo you really can't tell the difference.

    maybe we'll have a comcast search in the future, the companys going to need something to get itself out of the coming red.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Nothing's changed

    "As it stands, Google lays down the unique identifier in the Chrome installation folder, but it says this is not linked to personal data and that it is merely used to check for updates and report crashes back to the company. It is reassigned each time the browser is updated."

    .. relating the old ID to the new ID. Nothing's changed.

  19. Jon 52

    try this

    May i suggest another google search alternative.

    duckduckgo.com

  20. mhenriday

    A step forward

    It's understandable that an algorithm-driven company like Google wants to know how well the installation process for Chrome succeeds. It is also understandable that end users are not particularly thrilled to have this information collected. That the Chrome installation ID will be deleted and not reappear after the initial update is a step forward. More generally, however, the important thing is that the process is made transparent for all Google - and other producers' (Microsoft, anyone ?) ! - products, so that end users can make an informed choice as to whether or not to install and run them....

    Henri

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