Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chrome as Nagware

Now whenever I start Chrome, it asks me to sign in to the browser. Why? It's a browser, not an OS. Apparently this will let me sync my bookmarks, history, and settings on all my devices: "With Chrome's sign-in feature, you no longer need to fret about your bookmarks or apps being "stuck" on one computer." Who's enough of a dweeb to fret about this stuff?

Different machines have different characteristics, so maybe I want different settings. Maybe I want different bookmarks, history, and apps at home and at work. Maybe I want to try out a setting or an app, but not spread it across all my systems until I decide I like it. Maybe an app is stealing data. Do I want it spread across all my machines quickly and automatically?

I think this is a feature that some people will want. But the way Google is going about it, nagging us to log in every time we start the browser, apparently with no setting to disable the request, feels coercive. And when a corporation attempts coercion, I worry about ulterior motives.

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