There are two web browsers, based on the Google Chrome codebase:

  • Google Chrome (of course)
  • Chromium

The latter is a free-software-only version of Google Chrome, having the spyware features of the original Google Chrome ripped out, and that can be eg. installed in Debian using apt-get.

Today, I wanted to try the extensions, since the original browser is suitable for not much more than simply looking at a web page. But if you want any kind of extensions, like eg. maybe AdBlock, or the SpeedMeter, or the SessionManager, or whatever else would benefit you as a user, you immediately find yourself locked out of Google's Webstore. By the way... the name is already giving away what the problem really is: Google, like about any other vendor I am aware of, wants to reduce you to a user, and cut down on your abilities to create, or use the software in ways you deem fit, instead of only ways they deem fit. So, there is eg. no simple way to download the extension to your hard disk drive, maybe for later digestion - no, you can, at best, install the extension online, into your current profile. And if you somehow lose that, you get to try again. So they can not only track every move of you, they can also manage the availability of their extensions to you as they choose. Like eg. Ad sales going down? Poof, no more AdBlock for you.

This way, you sell out your freedom and your privacy in the same way to Google than you probably did before, to Microsoft and Apple, and a plethora of other companies.

Now my question to you is: Are you prepared to accept that, and if so, why?