claaarky - 4:27 pm on Jan 13, 2013 (gmt 0)
I don't think google have 'lied' to us about Chrome data, I think they were economical with their words. They were asked if Chrome data is used in the algo and their response was along the lines of 'not in the main algo'. Panda is not part of the main algo so it's feasible that chrome data is used to calculate quality score for a site based on overall user behaviour (relative to that of similar sites).
I agree google would not want us to know if this was the case but I think by now they have sufficient data from other sources they could easily spot most tricks people might try and nullify those attempts or penalise those sites.
Just to clarify, I don't think they're judging individual pages based on chrome data, I think they're judging the site as a whole. Rankings of the whole site are then promoted or demoted by your 'score'. So it doesn't matter if individual pages don't get enough traffic to make a judgement about their quality, all pages are trusted (or not) based on overall site quality.
That does however mean poor pages from well known sites can rank very well (which is something being reported regularly). The more browser data google obtains the less this will occur (in other words, yes they do need the other two thirds of browser data to do a better job).
I think this is the best they can do right now, but using browser data gets them closer than not using it.
For the record, I don't think GA data is used at all, mainly because it's too inaccurate and not collected at a detailed enough level for their purposes. It is however useful to webmasters as a guide to the kinds of metrics they are using.