starts to lock out non-official Chrome builds like . The is a cricual infrastructure these days and as such we need independent browsers and rendering engines!

If you care about the free and open web you shouldn't use Chrome based browsers.

Thread with more details:

@bjoern I have to confess that I'm still using Chromium (on Linux) with Google sync enabled because I made the mistake to rely too much on it in the past...
Time to move on I guess

@bjoern i dont see this as a real issue, but chromium should then allow distros or users to configure and run their custom sync server. I think mozilla does that

@bjoern I don't really see the issue. I don't want "Google-exclusive" features in my browser that rely on sending data to Google and I don't mind if they get removed.

@larma Me neither but many do and I see a pattern here.

First they start out with something quite open to get enough users. Many in the Free Software community said, I would never use Google Chrome but Chromium or other Chrome based browsers are fine because it is Free Software, etc.

Than once they have enough market share they start to closing stuff down, change their services to work only or better with their browser engine, etc

@bjoern This might be a general theme with Google, but doesn't apply here:

Google never needed any acceptance from open source community for Chrome. First versions of Chrome were not even available on Linux. When they added support for Linux, they already had a global market share of 10%.

The reason they are closing this down is probably rooted in third party commercial browsers based on Chromium using their infrastructure. They don't care about the <1% of people using Chromium on Linux...

@bjoern @larma
Your point does not make any sense. Anyone who actually cares about FOSS would not be using Google Sync in Chromium in the first place, and instead host their own solution.

@bjoern @larma

isn't it kinda natural that they "change their services to work only or better with their browser engine"?
Of course do they develop the browser with their services in mind and its naturall, that they can implement edgy-changes more easily in their own browser.

they can choose how to spend their time and money and as long as people have the free browser choice its ok for me.

@bjoern I don't think I've ever met a person using Chromium that was using google services whether they be exclusive or not. If anything this is a win for anybody using Chromium.

@bjoern If the "Web" is a crucial infrastructure, maybe then we should have a look into how to generally deal with this. Falling back from using Google-backed #Chromium browsers to using Google-funded #Firefox seems a rather bad choice, and though there are some promising alternatives outside that, none of them right now are on par with either Chrome or Firefox. 😟

@z428 @bjoern I'm sure EU is looking into these sort of issues. EU wide laws and regulations plus a strong European tech ecosystem is the solution. We need to break up big tech by building our own (big and small) alternatives.

@JohanEmpa I'd hope for that, but I'm not really sure there's any European activity in this field. At least, there hasn't been any visible progress the last couple of years, and the issue itself isn't new. 😟


@z428 @bjoern I'm hoping that the French Qwant will miraculously grow to a real Google search competitor. Once that happen I hope they will use their leftover profit to make a better browser too.

@JohanEmpa Let's see what happens, but I'm unsure whether (looking at Google) it's good to risk having another for-profit company our only "hope"... 😉 Maybe it would need more public engagement here, also in terms of FLOSS community and money. 😀


@JohanEmpa @bjoern @z428 I used qwant as my default search engine for the last 6 months, and it is usable but still not quite there. Sometimes has slowdowns and often does not returns as much relevant results as goole.
But I keep using it nevertheless....

@erm67 Actually at the moment I kind of fell back to because as well here the amount of relevant results was not satisfying. 😟

@bjoern @JohanEmpa

@z428 @erm67 @bjoern
I feel that Startpage isn't even trying to do things better, they're fine with just doing their thing - being a meta search engine fully dependent on Google. No ambition, boring.

Qwant on the other hand try to build a real search engine by crawling the web. They have a vision of a healthy European eco-system.

"Based and designed in Europe" - that's the spirit we need.

@z428 @bjoern @JohanEmpa Yes as a fallback since it is just a frontend for google .... users of frontends like that are still hooked on google since it is not an alternative.

@JohanEmpa @z428 @bjoern I certainly think that if they are actually concerned about the deteriating browser divirsity, they should kick me some money for "Haphaestus". I haven't heard back...

@bjoern I used and I will use Chromium, coz, IMHO, it is the best tool for Python + selenium.

@bjoern maybe I don't understand the impact, but why - as someone who doesn't have a Google account - is this interesting?

@clerian Because I look at the bigger picture, not from the position of an individual like myself.

I see a common pattern here, first they start out with something quite open to get enough users. Many in the FS community said, I would never use Google Chrome but Chromium or other Chrome based browsers are fine because it is Free Software, etc.

Than once they have enough market share they start to closing stuff down, change their services to work only or better with their browser engine, etc

@clerian Whether we use Google services or not. We help(ed) Google to get the necessary market share to lock others out and define the direction of Browser (engine) development. A bit like the old IE days which I hoped are long over and will never come back.


I care about a free and open web and i don't understand why we should not continue using chromium? I don't care about google forking off

@bjoern I wonder if that includes extensions? I don't use chromium based browsers anymore, but I remember managing and updating extensions to be a pain on ungoogled chromium cause you have to do it all manually.

@bjoern That does also mean distro-packaged Chromium builds will become more privacy-friendly.That's a good change.

Weiß jemand ob das auch webview von bromite
betrifft? Das wäre echt schade.

@bjoern I'm confused. What features will be affected? I know synchronisation of bookmarks, history, password, etc won't work, but what else?

My main browser is Firefox, my second one is gnome web. It is based on webkit, but synchronises with Firefox sync. Will it be affected?

And this is the exact reason why I try to use Chromium-based browsers as little as possible.
Firefox as main browser, Chromium only in case something really doesn't work on Firefox and I really need it.

I don't have a Google account so it wouldn't change much for me but 🖕 Google anyways.

#firefox deteriorated.

Speed, resources use.

Print a PDF or saving all tabs as bookmarks is easier on #chromium

#firefox should put users first.
That was their strength.
A standard Firefox profile leaks a lot of metadata.

For me Firefox works faster than Chromium and viewing PDF's works just fine.

And I, of course, use a custom configuration ;)

@bjoern I'm actually unsure if this would make me like Chromium more or less as a browser ;).

But I'm pretty happy with Firefox anyway for now.

@bjoern good, let Google reduce their browser share...

@bjoern On the other hand, they're basically making Ungoogled Chromium the official one, which is a plus in my book.

@bjoern I wonder if it would be possible to make a chromium build that uses firefox's sync service (the way epiphany does)?

@bjoern good thing is that those ”unofficial” builds will become more private since the apis to collect data are inaccessible 🤔

@bjoern it's sick how big of an impact a decision of "one single" private actor can have on the whole market. They surely can decide that, since it's their product and right to do so. Still it makes me sick.

I wonder if it's actually legal in Europe though... Remember when Microsoft had to include alternative browsers so they don't gain too much advantage? If google excludes a whole bunch of users and forces them to use their browser, who knows. Maybe it's the same category

@bjoern This can be seen as a good thing. It means you can safely use Chromium without worrying about sending your private data (like your bookmarks and saved passwords) to Google via these APIs.

Firefox has similar functionality to creepily take your data, so Chromium is now one of the more privacy friendly browser options.

@bjoern Why would you want Google APIs in your browser? That's slavery if anything.

re LB: also it seems that Margaret Mitchell's corporate account has been frozen. it seems Google have wholly committed to evil as a way of doing business.

time to find a new email provider... and figure out how to export about 6GB of email without losing any (not to mention, where to put it all)

tbh the big challenge these days isn't finding email accounts - i've had free receive-only email accounts for a decade with free web hosting - it's finding SMTP relay access so you can send from every address you can receive at

@bjoern Less connection to Google servers? Sounds like a good thing to me.

@bjoern haven't used Google or apps requiring Play for many years. Your life gets better the day you dump these monoliths.

@bjoern seeing a button in Chromium to Sync history, passwords, bookmarks with a Google Account has always made me scared. So, this announcement is not a bad news, it will disconnect Chromium from Google Account integration. It does not concern browser rendering engine.

Does this only concern syncing bookmarks etc? If so, is this really relevant / would it lead to migration away from open software? (I'm personally not getting any use out of the feature)

@bjoern Really? But what is "Google Exclusive"? My beloved Google Docs?
Do they want to commit seppuku in favor to Microsoft???

@flamenco108 @bjoern

a recent audit, we discovered that some third-party Chromium based browsers were able to integrate Google features, such as Chrome sync and Click to Call, that are only intended for Google’s use. This meant that a small fraction of users could sign into their Google Account and store their personal Chrome sync data, such as bookmarks, not just with Google Chrome, but also with some third-party Chromium based browsers. We are limiting access to our private Chrome APIs starting on March 15, 2021.
For users who accessed Google features (like Chrome sync) through a third-party Chromium based browser, their data will continue to be available in their Google Account, and data that they have stored locally will continue to be available locally. As always, users can view and manage their data on the My Google Activity page. They can also download their data from the Google Takeout page, and/or delete it here.
Guidance for vendors of third-party Chromium based products is available on the Chromium wiki.

@bjoern I know I'm late to the party here but I honestly don't see what the problem is. #Google removing "features" that rely on handing more personal data over to Google sounds like a win. Not just for me but anyone using an open source #Chromium fork. Who uses Chromium for Google services? Anyone who actually wants Google's spyware is using #Chrome already. This is a good thing for #FOSS imo. Most forks remove "Google Sync" etc already. Usually to replace with their own service.

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