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    Basically Chrome becoming the even more evil version of IE.

    I wonder if the issue is making a de facto standard the product of a huge company or just making anything that.

    What if people around the world start ditching Chrome for Firefox, shall we still be worried that Mozilla might turn on us in the near future?

    Currently, as in the IE-era, I am forced to also use Chrome as certain websites just don’t load properly on Firefox.

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      Can you help us and say which websits don’t work in Firefoxat https://webcompat.com/ ? Just in case we don’t have it on file.

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        For me mainly the Unity website and forums, really awful.

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        Basically Chrome becoming the even more evil version of IE.

        … which was sort of predictable because Microsoft (in the past, at least) was never an adtech company. Google’s existence hinges on its ability to monetise its users. That’s going to lead to way more user-hostile behaviour than a straightforward browser war.

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          These concerns were raised when Chrome was launched.

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            Indeed. I find it somewhat disheartening when a well-informed, vocal, minority of technologists predict doom, are ignored, and then a few years later the doom is in the news and everyone is diving for the fainting couches.

            Not that I burned a bunch of time and energy arguing against EME or anything, too (sigh).

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              I think many technologists eagerly jumped on Chrome as soon as it was released… just as they jumped on Gmail.

              Even today, “Google does it” can be used as a sales pitch for all manner of products and processes.

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                Even today, “Google does it” can be used as a sales pitch for all manner of products and processes.

                “No one ever got fired for buying IBM.”

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                being well-informed and arguing online never makes a significant difference. maybe it’s enough to be able to say “i told you so,” but changing things requires a coordinated mass effort.

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                  Well, hindsight 20/20.

                  You cannot certainly call them “well-informed” as this is not based on information but rather on intuition.

                  You cannot call them vocal as if their voices don’t reach even tech-savy people, can we say they really said anything at all? (tree in the forest, lalala)

                  And predicting doom is absolutely definitely not a good reason to listen to anyone as there are tons of those everywhere.

                  Back in the day, the main push was to move people away from IE and that was done on an individual level by many. People were installing Firefox right away and touching IE only when they needed to update their system (focusing on the Windows lot).

                  Then Firefox bloated up and Chrome was as light as a feather, running well even on an older computer (I remember how it felt to switch).

                  So the tech-savy people in the family would just install Chrome on the freshly installed machine instead of Firefox.

                  In my experience, it was never about trusting Google or liking it as a company. They just made a better product and people voted with their installs.

                  Same for Gmail and all the rest, they made good stuff, let’s not forget that.

                  But now we need to trade more and more of our privacy to get less and less benefits, that’s why switching to Firefox is the best option right now.

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                    You cannot certainly call them “well-informed” as this is not based on information but rather on intuition.

                    Not at all. It’s not intuition to conclude that, if an ad-tech company produces a Web browser, that it’s going to be used as a tool to monetize user behavior. That’s straightforward deduction.

                    In my experience, it was never about trusting Google or liking it as a company. They just made a better product and people voted with their installs.

                    Only if you consider a narrow definition of ‘better’. People did, initially. Now the needle is swinging back: people are increasingly valuing privacy, and casting a skeptical eye at Chrome and Android as a result.

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                Please don’t assume malevolence.

                You can also explain the same thing by assuming something much less evil: 1. Google depends critically on users being able to reach itself and its advertising customers. 2. Google assumes that it has better technical skill than its adtech competitors.

                If you assume those, then if someone else dominates the browser development and deployment, and can somehow intercept or discriminate against Google customers, then that’s an existential risk for Google. Funding a neutral browser, or even two, would be an effective defense against that risk.

                I know nothing about why Google chose to fund Firefox and Chrome. But I like to look for explanations that don’t assume malevolence.

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                  i don’t think they assumed malevolence. just that google depends on monetizing its users, which you seem to agree with.

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                    I might be wrong, but I interpreted some of the upstream comments as saying “Google says that Chrome does … but it actually does …” which is accusing Google of lying, and in my book liars are malevolent.

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                      i’m not seeing what part of the upstream comments could be interpreted that way.

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                The core difference with Mozilla is that it’s a non-profit organization meaning that there is no ulterior motive as there is with companies like Google or MS. Running it as a non-profit means that it’s just a way to organize sustained funded development around an open source project.

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                  So I like Firefox and Mozilla, but it’s important to note that almost all their income comes from adtech companies (almost all from Google, actually).

                  When you search Google from Firefox, that adds to Mozilla revenue.

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                    So I like Firefox and Mozilla, but it’s important to note that almost all their income comes from adtech companies (almost all from Google, actually).

                    I often think about the Microsoft-Apple investment in the 90’s. Apple was in serious dire straits; there was a very real concern that it would cease to exist as a company.

                    Then Microsoft swoops in and invests $150 million, when Apple was just weeks away from bankruptcy. The official reason was to encourage the use of new versions of Microsoft Office and IE on the Mac, but I often think that it was instead a hedge against any future anti-monopoly actions against Microsoft: “see, we’re not a monopoly, here’s Apple…”

                    I often wonder if Google does this with Mozilla.

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                      Just guessing, but my guess is that Google paid Mozilla because people having access to a few fine web browser is a requirement for Google. What would happen to Adwords if 1%, 10%, 20% of web users were to start a Facebook app instead of opening Facebook in a web browser, and the Facebook app were to shield those users from Adwords? Even funding a second or third independent web browser team might make sense, just for robustness — €100m/year is only 0.1% of Adwords.

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                        I think one key difference is that Apple wasn’t compelled in any way (either from within or external) to include microsoft bits in their products, whereas Mozilla is/feels compelled to include google tracking software in their products. IANAL, but it would seem the ‘we aren’t a monopoly, look at these folks’ argument would be weakened by the other folks (mozilla) essentially being an extension of your (google’s ad) core business.

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                          IIRC they were required to have MSIE as the default browser on Macs.

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                            Oh! I didn’t realize that..

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                        Similarly, Apple gets billions from Google to keep it as the default search engine in Safari.

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                          That’s true, but the only way to change that is for more people to start donating to Mozilla so that they don’t have to rely on the likes of Google for revenue. I started donating last year myself because I think that Firefox is an incredibly important project. If Firefox goes away Chrome will be the only game in town, and the internet is just too important for Google to become the gatekeepers of.

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                            I fully agree with your point about allowing google to take over.

                            But I’m torn. On one hand I want Mozilla to succeed (for reasons you stated), but on the other hand I don’t want to encourage a company that openly advertises ‘privacy’ in their products but includes google tracking software. If Mozilla were genuine about it (e.g. disable google tracking by default and make it opt-in), then I would definitely feel obligated to donate. But it’s just hard for me to open my wallet and support a company that is misleading users, even if their survival is critical.

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                              On one hand I want Mozilla to succeed (for reasons you stated), […]

                              Me, too, but there are just so many of Mozilla’s decisions that cause me to go “wait … what?” whenever I’m revisiting the issue.

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                                I appreciate your idealistic view here. However, from pragmatic perspective Mozilla is all we’ve got, and if they do go under we’ll all be worse off. So, while it’s not perfect it’s still worth supporting because the alternative is much worse.

                                The really important part here is that Firefox is pretty much the only widely used alternative to Chrome now. If it goes away, Chromium will effectively be the only game in town. This will allow Google to completely ignore W3C, and just put in whatever features and behaviors they want in it. And the browsers are so complex nowadays that creating an alternative implementation from the ground up will take a herculean effort.

                                Having at least two independent implementations of the browser engine ensures a minimal common standard is followed.

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                                  But, even if we ‘just have Mozilla’, Google controls their financial future, so Google could ‘kill’ Mozilla and take over now if they wanted right?

                                  Well, there’s always webkit2. While not nearly as popular anymore as blink and gecko, there are some browsers that use it. Maybe it’s time for webkit (in the form of the maintained webkit2) to make a resurgence!

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                                    As I’ve already said, if we don’t want Google to control Mozilla’s future then people need to start donating to Mozilla to make them financially independent. And I think we have the same problem with webkit2 as we do with Mozilla, the development has to get funded somehow. Browser engines are incredibly complex nowadays, and it takes a lot of effort to stay competitive.

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                          Currently, as in the IE-era, I am forced to also use Chrome as certain websites just don’t load properly on Firefox.

                          I’ve experienced this on a few sites. My approach has been to a) find alternatives, and b) file detailed bug reports. In some cases (b) bears fruit; e.g. beautiful.ai recently let me know that they now fully support Firefox.

                          So far, I’ve managed to avoid the situation where I have to use Chrome.

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                          The intent here is to drive Chrome experiments, not to track users?

                          It can be abused as something else, we don’t know if that abuse is happening, only thing we know is the intent and that’s not to track individual users but to track browser experiments?

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                            It doesn’t help that Google has just one privacy policy for all its products, which is so vague and full of phrases like “we may [..]” that no one can discern what exactly Google collects and what exactly it’s used for.

                            For example:

                            When you’re not signed in to a Google Account, we store the information we collect with unique identifiers tied to the browser, application, or device you’re using. This helps us do things like maintain your language preferences across browsing sessions.

                            Note that it says “thing like [..]”, not “maintain your preferences”. What else doe it do exactly then? Very vague. Later on it goes to say that:

                            We collect information about your activity in our services, which we use to do things like recommend a YouTube video you might like. The activity information we collect may include:

                            [..]

                            • Activity on third-party sites and apps that use our services

                            So now we’ve gone from “maintain language preferences” to “activity on third-party sites” (note it’s not clear what “activity” exactly). Much further down it goes on to say that “We may combine the information we collect among our services and across your devices” (no mention of Google account).

                            If Chrome had a clear privacy policy stating “this is exactly the information we collect, and this is exactly what we use it for” then okay, fair enough. But it doesn’t: it just has this very broad Google policy which basically says “we can do whatever we want with your data” (there are a few restrictions like sharing with 3rd parties, but not many).

                            Is this data used for that? Probably not. But Google’s refusal to give hard promises on this isn’t exactly inspiring a lot of trust.

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                              This is more-or-less exactly the behavior that lead to the GDPR being enacted.