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Google Browser Sync For FireFox

     
11:32 am on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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[google.com...]

[google.com...]

Google Browser Sync for Firefox is an extension that continuously synchronizes your browser settings; including bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, and saved passwords; across your computers.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 2:42 pm (utc) on June 8, 2006]

11:54 am on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is it time for the spyware list makers to finally put Google at the top of their lists

Having just updated my Ad-Aware definitions, and reading again their note: "Ad-Aware SE Personal is an essential part of Google Pack", maybe not...
12:07 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What is the problem? It says exactly what it does, and you have to deliberately install it.
12:19 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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> deliberately install it.

The Google toolbar is now installed by default on machines from: Dell, HP, GateWay, eMachines, and dozens of related brands. It is also being tagged onto other software packages. The mass majority of new machines coming online are now installed with Google software by default.

12:33 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If I wanted to, I could have my surfing habits observed by AdSense, Google Analytics, Google Toolbar and that Google WebAccelerator (?) thing (is it still about?), my browser preferences and cookie settings tracked by Google Browser Sync (and possibly the WebAccelerator), my mail tracked by Gmail, my spreadsheet calculations by Google Spreadsheets and my sleeping activities by Google Bedsheets. And via Orkut they also know which Brazilian drug dealers I'm associated with. And as an added bonus Google will also save me the trouble of censoring anything I post online which might offend the Chinese government.

Actually removing tinfoil hat I don't believe in any way Google is deliberately out to spy on me personally, or humanity in general. Nevertheless the steady buildup of data in a jurisdiction outside of my influence, which is associated with a particular web-usage profile, and which in turn can quite often be associated with a particular person, does leave me with an increasingly uneasy feeling. Even though I'm a tech-savvy person who proactively takes care of his (or her ;-) online identity.

[edit]clarify a sentence[/edit]

4:20 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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zCat,

The issue is that they're seeding the capability for a massive wrongdoing. They're making it 'ok' and even 'cool and trendy' for you to fork over 100% consumer data. Last time I checked, making my identity searchable to a clandestine private company was the last thing you were supposed to do.

Doesn't that bother anybody, at least on principle, that they're training everyone to be lazy with their identity? Maybe I've read too many Philip K. Dick novels but I think consumers deserve accountability and I don't see ANY coming out of Google . . . just promises that they're not going to 'do evil.' Hints too omenously of irony for my blood.

4:21 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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As mentioned, the Google toolbar is now installed by default on machines from Dell, HP, and others. However, unless I am mistaken, the Google Browser Sync tool is not part of the Google toolbar but rather is a Firefox extension which must be deliberately installed.
4:45 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What is the problem? It says exactly what it does, and you have to deliberately install it.

Browser Sync tool is not part of the Google toolbar but rather is a Firefox extension which must be deliberately installed.

True. Moreover, you have the option in the installer/preferences to configure exactly which data it synchronizes, to encrypt the remotely stored information and to temporarily turn the extension off without uninstalling the plugin.

On the other hand, I wonder if it's tracking browser history? You must be logged-in to a Google account in order to use the service which means that any information it does collect can be associated with an individual person...

-b

5:22 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think it could be an outrageous breach of privacy. I also think it should be installed by opt-in only and then with wording like:

"WARNING! At this time we are unsure how we might use your data. We will decide that in the future. Proceed at own risk."

It should be bold and outlined in a border-box just like the Surgeon General's warning on US cigarette packs. This stuff toasts me.

5:29 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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No, thanks.

Anyone know of a similar solution that either works peer-to-peer or lets me store the data on my OWN server?

5:43 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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You just know the government will be dying to get their hands on search history. I mean, c'mon...
7:32 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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There is another reason to own a Mac--Google tool bar is not available unless you install it on Firefox--which I rarely use unless I need to check PR.
7:54 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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You just know the government will be dying to get their hands on search history. I mean, c'mon...

NSA wiretaps ring a bell?

Again, the point isn't that this particular Firefox plug-in is a spying bug, nobody is saying that . . . the point is we're getting really sloppy with our private information, basically trading it in for technology that doesn't really benefit us tremendously. It's great that somebody invented this plug-in but it's terrible that we're getting so comfortable forfeiting our personal security.

9:06 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I jumped off the Google bus a long time ago - about the time of G Analytics.

As another poster mentioned, it's almost as is people are walking blindly into a situation where there is general acceptance that G can get their hands on any and all information concerning us, our surfing habits, our site and so on, and on, and on...

10:07 pm on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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what a great tool - i regularly surf from different locations and my keyboard url shortcuts are a real time-saver - be great to have them all the time on all machines - i wonder if it works for portable firefox too?

too much paranoia is a bad thing ;)

12:30 am on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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too much paranoia is a bad thing ;)

It's not paranoia, it's identity management. For the same reason that I carefully destroy any papers with personal information that I throw away - it's highly unlikely that anyone is going to go through my trash to either steal my identity or spy on me, but I'm not going to take the chance.

The same with online activity: as I said, I don't believe Google actually wants to spy on me or anything, but they could theoretically collect all sorts of information about me, and that information could some day get into the wrong hands.

Must stop writing now and go out and see what those masked men jumping out of the black helicopter want from me.

3:12 am on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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the point is we're getting really sloppy with our private information, basically trading it in for technology that doesn't really benefit us tremendously. It's great that somebody invented this plug-in but it's terrible that we're getting so comfortable forfeiting our personal security.

AMEN!

We really are training a whole generation to be sloppy. Does anyone realize that there is actually a US law on the books that makes it illegal to require someone to use their SS# as an account ID, or even a student ID in schools?

I'm betting that comes as a surprise to more than a few, but the reality is that so few even think twice about giving this stuff up.

4:49 am on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It's starting to sound like Google is becomming the "Bigbrother" and I wouldn't be surprised if the government knows "our" surfing habits already. As someone mentioned "Does NSA ring a bell"? I'd much rather put my faith in G than Mr. Bush; I just can't seem to call him the President.
5:58 am on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think that the Sync feature is great. Long overdue and it will be a poweful argument for adoping FireFox in a wider corporate setting.

The only disagreement I have with the privacy regime at Google is they do their best to have you use a single Google Account for everything. For many people the Google Account may well not contain any personally identifying information - but for the bulk of webmasters it will. It will be linked to your Adwords and Adsense accounts which have both been security verified to confirm your actual identity, as well being clearly linked to your sites via Google Analytics and Google Sitemaps.

It would be nice if Google could at least promise that they will never cross-reference Adsense/Adwords/Sitemaps/Analytics with any of our other user data by linking up the Google Accounts.

6:35 am on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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For those looking for a google free alternative, foxmarks sync's bookmarks across any number of computers and works seamlessly with firefox.
7:16 am on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It looks like Google are not invading our privacy

The FAQs say that the information is stored encrypted, Google do not have the key, and you do not need to be logged into your Google account to use it.

8:30 am on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Do we know what data is collected by Google, apart from search terms? Installing toolbars by default is not a problem, its collecting and selling your data without telling you that I have a problem with. But does G do this? Are search terms invariably tied to an ip address?
8:47 am on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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ok
google has a lot of information about me... A LOT
but the last thing I will provide them with is my other passwords, cookies and bookmarks
no f way :)
10:59 am on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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A quick look at the privacy notes regarding the Browser Sync extension will tell you that the only thing saved is current settings. If you change/delete something, the saved setting is deleted/changed as well.

In other words, no historical data whatsoever.

Add the encryption option to that and it is very clear that Google's intent is not to data mine or spy on anyone with the information stored by this particular service.

You're risking your privacy in a far bigger way (which is to say realisticly not all that much) by using Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, GMail, etc... Amazing how much perspectives have changed.

It's entertaining to imagine, if somehow online email accounts had never been introduced all those years ago, the horrified outcry we would hear if Google tried to launch that kind of service now. At Webmaster World anyway. ;-)

11:17 am on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Serious they are now worse then Microsoft, I dont have any tools or gmail, I only use there search sometimes and yes I know they also collect there.
12:47 pm on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I use a lot of tools from google. The benefits that I am getting for using their tools is greater than what they get for peeking at my personal information, if ever they do.
5:29 pm on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I just started using the sync today. It's pretty good, and encrypts everything (you have to manually include encryption for history, bookmarks etc.).

It doesn't seem to sync my quick links though. Is anyone else having this issue?

6:17 pm on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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...and I thought "Big Brother" always referred to the government...turns out..it's Google.
9:05 pm on June 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Another usefull tool from G
5:35 am on June 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I use 5 pc and a laptop. I've waited for something like this for years. Thanks GG.
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