exercises in compound storytelling

Thursday, September 4, 2008

black medallions, no Chrome

Tuesday I downloaded Google Chrome and installed it on the second laptop I use at work: the slow one, the one I use when I need to be online (collaboration) and offline (on the customer's virtual private network) at the same time. I got the same sort of brain-cramping feeling I got when I started using Windows XP (why should I use the Start menu, again?) and Office 2000 (don't rearrange my menus, okay?), Firefox with tabbed browsing, autocomplete, and of course Firefox 3 with its address-bar autocomplete. The address bar went away, and I got a search bar in its place. I have some vague recollection of Microsoft trying this a while back with LiveSearch or whatever; I hated it, and was relieved to have the address bar and the search bar side-by-side. But that was LiveSearch, not Google. I hated the front page with the cache of recently visited pages; I don't mind my browser keeping tabs on where I've been, but I'd like to keep my personal view of the Web a click away from the default page. That's my gripe with iGoogle, too. But maybe that's because I use my work machine for personal uses.

Early Wednesday we got word from the company owner that we were not to install or use Google Chrome; it read, in essence: "I own the company. I don't like the EULA. Do not use Chrome." So I uninstalled it. It uninstalled neatly, but it complained and wanted to know why I was dropping it.

I do wonder if certain parties are being too cautious about this issue; the only article I've seen talking about enterprise use of Chrome focuses on its susceptibility to hackers, not the general way Google swallows data.

I'm not one of those "Google Is The Beast" people, but sometimes I wonder what they're doing with all that data. Mostly they make money by presenting ads, so I'd expect that they use whatever information they gather to target ads. Someday, though, they'll find themselves in their second phase, when growth of their ad-based revenue has peaked, and I wonder what they'll do with all the byproducts of the data mining they're doing today.

If and when a Mac version is available I'll probably install it. I don't especially like Safari, and I'm open to suggestions. And Google's already got all the data on my Mac.

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