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    If this really does happen, I hope Google does the right thing and split off the Chromium project into a nonprofit, or a regulatory body forces them to do so. Having the world’s largest advertising business in complete control of the web is a negative for society as a whole.

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      If this really does happen, I hope Google does the right thing

      Google, unsurprisingly, does the right thing by Google. They have a track record of supporting open standards just as long as it takes them to establish a nice captive userbase for a walled garden - then they ditch them. C.f. RSS and XMPP.

      Also: https://killedbygoogle.com/

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        Yeah, they might force people to go through google to find a website. Most tech-illiterate (and even some tech-literate) people are already doing this - type “lobste.rs” in the Google search bar and click the top result.

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          For those who weren’t around for it, back in 2010, ReadWriteWeb posted an article about Facebook Connect which was briefly the top Google result for “Facebook Login”. The comments were then filled with hundreds of users who thought that the blog was just a Facebook’s latest redesign and were angry that they couldn’t find their photos and messages.

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        I really really wish people would stop trusting Google and would start treating breaking up Google’s browser market dominance as an emergency threat that takes priority over other pet causes.

        Suppose that tomorrow Apple is forced to allow any browser engine that wants to be on iOS. The day after, every single Google property starts blocking all other browsers and displaying “To continue, please use Chrome, the fastest and most secure browser…”. And then they tell Mozilla they will not be renewing their funding deal when it expires.

        And that’s it. That’s the end of the web browser market, everything becomes a variant of Chrome, and Google probably just forces people onto actual Chrome because it’s simplest. If you then suddenly decide it might be time to start going after Google’s browser monopoly, there will not be a market to come back to years down the line if that action eventually succeeds, because the market will have died basically on day one of the full monopoly and there no longer are competing browser engines or vendors who can revive it, because rebooting that market is a multi-year project at that point.

        But instead of recognizing this, people decide that, say, Apple’s iOS market share is the biggest threat and the thing that urgently has to be broken up, when it’s at best a Pyrrhic victory that will just hand permanent control of the web to Google. iOS will still be there to go after once Google is broken up.

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          I also really don’t get the people who think Apple is a large of a threat as Google here. It’s also not ideal, but their market share is small, and it’s trivial to avoid Apple products. Less so with Google’s.

          The situation with browser engines makes it even more sad - mobile Safari might be the only real thing preventing a total Chrome monopoly.

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            I’m conflicted, because while Google presents a theoretical threat, Apple poses a current threat.

            Sure, Google could do that and maybe there wouldn’t be enough antitrust / developer blowback to make them walk it back, but it seems unlikely. Plus, there’s actually nothing stopping them from doing this now with iOS Chrome: it’s still detectable by their servers, and it still (presumably) sends them user data despite the different browser engine. Sure, they’d love if they could get their own browser engine and FLOC shit etc. on iOS, but they’d still be happy if all iOS users were using iOS chrome even if it’s just reskinned Safari + tracking. Since they haven’t locked non-Chrome iOS users out of their webapps, presumably they feel that they can’t.

            Meanwhile, Apple’s BS is anticompetitive and hurts me now: they specifically gimp their browser to make it difficult to compete with the $100/year + 30% take of the app store. And they don’t just not implement things like Web Bluetooth and the other weird stuff coming out of Google these days that massively increases the fingerprinting and attack surface of the browser. They don’t implement completely reasonable parts of the spec like certain CSS Grid properties and screen orientation! Safari is the only browser I need to think about separately when writing code for the web, all the other browsers (even Firefox!) just work for the reasonable subset of things I use.

            I know some people pine for the days when the web was just plain-text black-on-white blog posts without Javascript, but like it or not the web is the only non-walled-garden, graphical app delivery platform we have. I write and distribute free games and the web is the only platform I can do so on without installing gigabytes of crappy vendor SDKs, buying a Mac, paying Apple’s exorbitant platform fees, and struggling with arbitrary app store takedowns. I care a lot more about Apple’s anticompetitive practices here than Google’s Chrome-based theoretical ones.

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              You realize that Google degrading experience on their web properties for users of non-Chrome browsers is not some sort of way-out-there-maybe-one-day hypothetical, right? It’s a thing that has actually literally happened in the past. And on top of that, the documents that came out about AMP and what they were actually doing with it should really get people to sit up and pay attention and stop being all “well maybe they might one day” — they are already actively working on how to abuse their monopoly positions.

              And the reason why Google would benefit from actual factual Chrome rather than merely Safari-wearing-Chrome-UI is precisely all the adware and surveillance and intrusive data collection stuff that you acknowledge exists and that Apple and Mozilla have consistently refused to implement in their browsers but Google desperately wants and will ram through whether it gets standardized or not. So no, they are not happy with the status quo and would not be happy with it if they had a chance to put real actual Chrome on iOS.

              I do not care how much you personally hate Apple, or how many times someone says “But Safari is the new IE!” The highest-priority threat right now is Google, and until that threat is dealt with you’re going to have to live with Safari not being as good as you’d like it to be, which is by far the lesser evil here. Like I said: break up Google’s monopoly first, and then you can go after iOS browser engines to your heart’s delight.

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                This is exactly how Google got so big in the first place - the tech nerds love all the shiny toys Google gives them and think the companies that can’t keep up are the evil ones. Google gave us better search results (and more ads), more storage space on e-mail (and more opportunities for tracking), more capable browsers (that also spy more), better analytics (and more information about web users, even those that don’t use Google stuff), easier “office” collaboration tools (and more lock-in to the Google ecosystem), etc etc.

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              I really really wish people would stop trusting Google and would start treating breaking up Google’s browser market dominance as an emergency

              Google learned the embrace, extend, and extinguish lesson very well from Microsoft, and they did it with a lot of free software. I’m wondering when they’re going to do an “extinguish” on Linux with their new Fucksya kernel or however that’s supposed to be spelled.

              Really all of the tech conglomerates are merely surveillance organs with a side hustle. What people used to say at Google when I worked there was: “We’re the world’s biggest ad company which just happens to do some tech”. I started to exclude Apple from my blanket statement about tech conglomerates, and then I remembered that they randomly scan content on your devices now. So yeah, a pit of surveillance vipers, all of ’em.

              Google may well be the largest threat long term, but we’re in a target-rich environment. All of the GAFAM pose a clear and present danger, but I’m totally on board with starting with Google, considering just how much power they hold. Aside from Chrom(ium) being a browser monopoly, Google is also where the latest round of HTTP protocols came from. When I worked there, spdy and quick were internal Google projects. They begat HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 respectively.

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                Google and FB are clearly the portions of “GAFAM” the are built on surveillance, and I say this as another ex-G engineer. Conflating them as being in any way similar as the rest (or “FAANG” because Netflix I think????) is at best disingenuous.

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                  Apple goes to great lengths to detail that they don’t scan or monetize user data, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about?


                  Apple and MS are the least bad of the big 5 I think. I have less of a bone to pick with them than I do with Facebook and Google. I used to put Amazon in the MS and Apple camp, claiming, “All they wanna do is sell actual goods.” Yeah they’re terrible for other reasons, but for a long time I said that at least they weren’t a surveillance/ad company.

                  Then Alexa came out and I quickly changed my tune. My family has at least three of those things. There’s a “no Alexa” rule in my bedroom, but even so, the thing can hear voices back here when the door is open.

                  I don’t know why people conflate Netflix with the other 5, but they’re not on my radar.

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                    The CSAM thing, which they didn’t end up shipping, also didn’t give them any access to any of your photos. The bulk of the concern was governments exploiting it.

                    There was never any question that the Apple gained no information about user content.

                    So again, claiming apple is scanning user content in any way similar to Google’s business model is BS.

                    I also have never been able to work out why Netflix became one of the five