Google bends to privacy critics on Chrome tool

Google had been taking heat from privacy advocates

Reacting to criticism that its new Chrome browser was essentially acting as a keylogger, Google last week said it would render data anonymous within 24 hours of collecting information from the browser.

Google had been taking heat from privacy advocates over the Google Suggest feature in OmniBox, Chrome's combination address and search bar. Suggest automatically lists related search queries and popular Web destinations based on the text typed by users.

To do so, the feature transmits keystrokes to Google's servers. The vast majority are deleted as soon as suggestions are returned, but about 2 percent are recorded, along with associated data such as the IP addresses of the user. Google says it needs the information to monitor and improve Suggest.

But Urs Holzle, the company's senior vice president of operations, said in a blog post that given the concerns and the data's "limited potential use," Google plans to start anonymizing it "within about 24 hours" of receiving it. That is as quickly as is practical, he said.

Suggest began rolling out to Google's search engine late last month; before that, it was used as part of the Google Toolbar.

But what sparked the criticism over its use in Chrome was OmniBox's everything-in-one-place nature, said Alissa Cooper, chief computer scientist at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington. "Users were faced with Google retaining all of their search logs and all of the URLs they were typing," she said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Google Chrome

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?