I haven’t been shy about commenting on the total control Google has over the web. They aren’t really the search utility they were at one point, but more of an independent app trying to control everything for everyone… to the detriment of creativity and individual websites.
Google has added to Chrome a ScrollToTextFragment feature that allows deep linking.
And oh by the way, you don’t have any ability to turn it off. Thomas Claburn writes in TheRegister:
The feature rollout serves to illustrate that the consensus-based web standards process doesn’t do much to constrain the technology Google deploys. Source
Chrome deploys deep-linking tech in latest browser build despite privacy concerns. TheRegister February 20th 2020.
They simply think they own everything on the internet.. and we let them.
20 Years ago Microsoft was sued for pairing their operating system with a web browser. I think the same case can now be made against Google for pairing a search engine with a browser in anti-competitive ways. The latest update reminded me how they have lost my trust.
As a domain investor I want a more open web where anyone can create a website and online connection to the worldwide web. I don’t think everyone should have to go through Google to conduct online business. I think Google is a barrier to the network effect benefits the internet can provide.
The latest example of the extension of Google’s reach is the an update to the Chrome browser that provides what Google “says” is best for us. Its an automatic deep linking fragment technology that can track exactly where we go on certain webpages. If you have automatically accepted version 80 you have this potentially more invasive option already at work. Where you go can be tracked down to the letter.
Gordon Kelly covers the issue in a Forbes article “Google Just Gave Million of Users A Reason To Quit Chrome.” The full article is worth a read.
Peter Snyder, a privacy researcher at Brave Browser explains in the article about the new feature and its risks of: “Imposing privacy and security leaks to existing sites (many of which will never be updated) REALLY should be a ‘don’t break the web’, never-cross, redline. This spec does that.”
But then Google responds with Chromium engineer David Bokan, saying “We discussed this and other issues with our security team and, to summarize, we understand the issue but disagree on the severity so we’re proceeding with allowing this without requiring opt-in.”
Of course they are.
So chrome already tracks my movement and other life details and now we see new features I can’t opt out of; a clear case where they act as judge and jury to whats in Chrome, without any ability to opt-out.
In my opinion Google search has already become laser focused on search results dominated by brands and those that are candidates for paid services. I find myself not getting the results I am looking for.. over and over. Mostly searches return a Wikipedia link, and then the same big company results over and over… from different websites showing the same information.
As Chrome fails to meet the needs of internet users, I’m ready for innovation – especially innovation that restores the power of self discovery and fairness in a browser and search engine.
Until then Google continues a “we will change it and you’ll like it” approach.