Chrome fans… Read this!
If you’re a fan of Chrome and can’t bring yourself to stop using that browser despite gaining the knowledge that Google is trying to create the dystopia depicted in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four, you may be interested to know that Chromium (the platform underlying Chrome) is actually an open source project.
See, some of the technology that Google used to create Chrome originally came from the KDE project. KDE is a community of free software developers and users which produces the KDE Software Compilation. (Originally, KDE stood for K Desktop Environment; now it’s an acronym without an official meaning).
Because that technology (KHTML, later WebKit) was released under a free software license which requires that improvements or modifications be released under the same license, Google had to make Chromium open source.
So what does this mean?
It means that you can use Chrome without using Google Chrome!
Seriously. Google Chrome is just Chromium with a proprietary shell slapped on top. The proprietary shell is what delivers Google’s payload of spyware. Google would like you to use Google Chrome because that way, they can keep a closer eye on you… their browser is programmed to record your keystrokes and phone home to Big Brother regularly. But if you absolutely insist on using Chrome, you should be using a non-Google build of Chromium, rather than Google Chrome.
Users of GNU/Linux distributions such as Ubuntu should check to see if there is a non-Google build of Chromium available in their distribution’s repositories. For those who have Ubuntu, this is as simple as launching the Ubuntu Software Center and searching for “Chromium”. It should come up almost immediately, and it should have an icon with shades of blue rather than the multicolored icon that Google uses. Ubuntu’s build of Chromium does not contain Google’s spyware.
For Windows users, a good non-Google build of Chromium is ChromePlus, maintained by Maple Studio. (ChromePlus is also available for GNU/Linux distributions). ChromePlus ships without Google’s updater, user behavior tracker, or RIZ-encoded tracker. It allows you to specify that cookies, web browsing history, and passwords be erased upon exit. And finally, it does not send you to Google by default if you mistype an address. You can also configure ChromePlus to remove Google as the default search engine… it’s actually very easy to do.
To replace Google Chrome with ChromePlus:
Step One. Export your bookmarks.
- Click the wrench icon on the browser toolbar.
- Select Bookmark manager.
- Click the Organize menu in the manager.
- Select Export bookmarks.
- Choose a location where you want your exported file to be saved, then click Save.
Step Two. Uninstall Google Chrome. (For example, in Windows, go to the Control Panel, then Add/Remove Programs, select Google Chrome, and click the Uninstall button).
Step Three. Download and install ChromePlus.
Step Four. Configure ChromePlus.
- When ChromePlus starts up, it should load chrome://plusconfig
- Under General Settings, you’ll see Privacy Data. Click this. Click the boxes to delete history, cookies, cache, download history, saved passwords, etc. on exit if you wish.
- Now click Startup Options. Scroll down to the Misc section and ensure that “Disable Google bookmark sync” is checked.
- Now click the wrench icon (in the top-right corner) and choose Options. (This is different from “ChromePlus Options”).
- On the Basics tab, change Default Search from Google to Yahoo or Bing.
- Click OK.
- Click the wrench icon again and choose Bookmarks Manager.
- When Bookmarks Manager opens, click the Organize button. The dropdown menu will show Import bookmarks. Click this. A dialogue box will open. Find the exported bookmarks file you saved before you uninstalled Google Chrome, and after selecting it, click Open. Your bookmarks will be imported.
Step Five. Install extensions to safeguard your privacy:
- Ghostery (detects and blocks web bugs and trackers)
- Disconnect (stops adware and badware, prevents search engines from tracking you)
Be aware that Firefox extensions offer a much more powerful suite of tools for protecting your privacy than any set of extensions yet developed for Chromium.