Why I Don’t Use Google Chrome

August 24, 2010 · 8 comments

Ignorance can cause heartache, loss of time and problems doctors cannot diagnose. Ignorance is not an excuse to break the law, may cause seborrhea and inability to achieve orgasm. Ignorance is not synonymous with stupid – it means lack of knowledge. In my life I’ve never seen such an abundance of ignorance as on the Internet – a possible exception is the tabloids in the supermarket checkout line.

This is neither a slam or a rant against users. It is an observation about exploitation of users by companies that take advantage of user ignorance. Most people don’t have time to explore all the nuances of a computer, let alone the inherent dangers on the Internet. I won’t even get into cell phones, except to say, if you have a smart phone, ignorance can snag you like the bogyman in a foggy woods.

I like and use Google, use gmail and gcal. However, I’m aware that Google is storing vast amounts of information about me. This is why I use a private email address from my web server for purchase receipts, and other private messages. Yes, I am aware that this is not perfect; no email message is without security flaws on the Internet. Nevertheless, its better than web-mail.

There is no easy way to control Chrome cache

I first used Google Chrome on Windows, then when it was released for Mac, installed it there. The first thing I noticed with Chrome is, it lacks choice. In my experience with users in a professional setting, most users don’t want choice. The notion is, “Make the damned thing work” and that’s all that matters. Even IT professionals install programs and leave the default settings, knowing that some of these settings are purposely gathering information for the company that built the program. Chrome, especially with the initial releases, set new standards for storing information on your computer.

In all browsers I’ve used, there is a way to limit the cache – files from websites stored on your computer. And I’ve used web browsers on the big three, from Lynx on UNIX to the latest on Mac and Windows. Cache, like cookies is not a bad thing. It speeds up load time by not having to reload the same graphics, and other parts of a site every time you visit. By default, most cache sizes are far too big, although some people want to make them even bigger. With huge hard drives these days, you could have hundreds of megabytes of crap on your computer, unless you set the browser cache to a reasonable size.

In Chrome, there is no easy option to do this. According to Google, you can set it from the command line through a shortcut, (alias on a Mac). At least you can now delete the cache from Chrome, but there is no provision to do this every time quit Chrome.

I have 7 web browsers installed on my Mac. In the Windows box behind me there are four browsers, including Internet Explorer. This is so I can see what a new site will look like in various browsers on a real machine with different monitors. Not only that, some browsers are dedicated for a single purpose – I use Camino for gcal and nothing else.

Imagine if I allowed all these browsers to have several hundred MBs of storage. Theoretically I could wear out a hard drive with read/write alone, not to mention perhaps a gigabyte or more of crap on these computers.

All that aside, I see no compelling reason to use Chrome. If Google fixes this problem, allows more choice on my end, I will go back and use it for something. Meanwhile, Firefox remains the browser of choice for me. It works pretty much the same on all systems, has more choice and functionality than any browser I’ve seen. Most of all, I can control most aspects of it.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Mari B August 24, 2010 at 9:25 am

All in one post about Google Chrome, Hal: you’ve made me laugh, nod my head in agreement, and open my eyes wide in amazement. It’s a pleasure to read and learn from your logical explanations.

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Hal Brown August 24, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Thanks Mari. Much appreciated.

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Karen Black August 24, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Another informative article. Thanks for explaining in terms I can understand.

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Hal Brown August 24, 2010 at 8:15 pm

That’s good. I’m glad it was helpful.

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Kissie August 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm

“In my life I’ve never seen such an abundance of ignorance as on the Internet – a possible exception is the tabloids in the supermarket checkout line.”

HILARIOUS!

I must have a mind like an IT professional because I just want to do what I need to do and don’t particularly care about the whys. That’s why we have people like you in the world. I use 3 browsers on my desktop at work and that’s only because:
#1 I haven’t used IE consistently in years and our financial systems only work with that and then, IE6! (There oughta be a law!)
#2 I was told by one of my trusted friends that something was with me if I didn’t use Chrome and how quick and easy it is.
#3 Firefox is the only one that The Daily Show and Colbert Report will work without any issues … I don’t have time for the buffering. I need my daily fix of sarcasm minus the annoying interruptions. I used Firefox before learning about Chrome.

Never knew about Google storing info … until now.

What’s Gcal?
Kissie´s last blog ..Walks- Talks- and Oops … Must Eat Like a VeganMy ComLuv Profile

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Hal Brown August 27, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Gcal is Google Calendar. It is the best I’ve ever seen on the net. However, I don’t use any web calendar for very personal stuff – appointments etc. I don’t know what they do with it.
Thanks Kissie.

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Whane The Whip August 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm

So to summarize your article. Google stores info about you and Chrome does not let you set the cache size. I have some complaints about Chrome too, (as I do with all browsers) but the pro’s outweigh the cons in my case.

That said, you should take a look at the Echelon storage facility on the East Coast (USA). There is something like 200 acres used for *DATA* storage using some of the worlds fastest and most advanced super computers. Many major commercial services link to them… recently a whistle blower at AT&T came forward showing how every phone conversation is sent to and recorded at Echelon (There is a Discovery channel mention of this too). If I recall correctly, the claim made was that Echelon stores 19 four-foot tall storage cabinets of data on every american once a year on average. Check that out, because if Google, who openly admits to what information they collect bugs you, then Echelon which does not admit to *what* information they collect should really grab your attention.

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Hal Brown August 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm

As an former employee of AT&T, I don’t doubt what you are saying. The bigger point is, in the strictest sense nothing is free. Privacy is an illusion, unless you live in a deep cave and communicate with no one. Sometimes I see things that are a little more blatant (Google Chrome) about my control of certain aspects of privacy, and what they can do with my computer.
An aside: Most people think if they have a private phone number no one hears their conversation. Phone people hear it in the course of work. But, as an employee, every year I had to sign an FCC document swearing I would never divulge any part of any conversation I happened to hear. If I did, I could be fined 10,000 dollars and go to prison.
This is serious stuff. The FCC was not making this up to scare people – they meant it.
I don’ know about Google and the FCC. I don’t know about the Internet and the FCC.
Thanks for adding to this post.

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