It was on Monday this week that prominent cryptographer Matthew Green said he would be switching browsers because Chrome had begun to to quietly effect sign-ins for users whenever they visited a Google property. Green got some media traction because of his reputation.
A day or two later, it emerged that Google had also quietly instituted another change: when cookies were deleted, Chrome did not delete Google cookies.
We had the reassuring words of Google security droid Parisa Tabriz assuring people that there was nothing to be worried about.
Of course, if nobody had noticed this and complained, then the feature — which is, no doubt, of use to Google in its ceaseless bid to collect more data and sell more ads — would have stayed.
It's like boiling a frog; you dump the animal in, pour water, and then turn up the heat gradually. If you can boil it, excellent. For Google, the users of its Chrome browsers are no better than that frog.
Google has a breed of employee that knows no shame. The people who work for the company lie without blinking, from the chief executive Sundar Pichai downwards.
In July, soon after the company was hit with a US$5 billion fine by the European Union, the only political bloc which seems to have the cojones necessary to take on these corporates, Pichai tried to make it appear that Google was doing no wrong.
In a blog post, mind you. Google's bosses always avoid human contact; they tweet, blog, email, or else send smoke signals. They are afraid to face human confrontation.
Pichai claimed in the post: "If you prefer other apps — or browsers, or search engines — to the preloaded ones, you can easily disable or delete them, and choose other apps instead, including apps made by some of the 1.6 million Europeans who make a living as app developers."
That statement is a lie. Donald Trump, no doubt a man whom Pichai abhors, could not better it.
Expect those same features in Chrome to appear again a few versions down the line. At that time, they will be masked with others and they won't go away.
It's high time to do what Green did initially – look for an alternative browser and move.