Kin Lane

Goodbye Google Chrome

I recently removed Google Chrome from my laptop, iPhone, and iPad. From here forward I will rely on Firefox to be my primary browser, and Safari as a backup when required. I have used Google Chrome since it launched in 2008. The gateway drug for the browser was definitely the search engine, email, and docs, but it was also the performance, and cult-like mentality of everything that was “Google Free” at the moment. Over a decade later, I just can’t stomach being so hooked into the Google ecosystem, with their surveillance business model, forcing me to further abandon as much of their tooling as I possibly can.

It will be a continuous battle for me to escape the Googleplex of products, but removing the browser from my reality is a major milestone. As someone who work on the Internet, my browser is the most important tool in my toolbox. I spend most of my days in the browser, searching, developing, building, publishing, and researching. It reveals a lot about me, my career, my interests, and gives Google a very big window into my existence. Establishing a relationship that requires a lot of trust, and Google just hasn’t invested in building my trust, and seems to work harder at eroding it, and focusing on profits at all cost.

With my move to Firefox I will be giving up some performance, extensions, and other things I’ve grown accustom to. While not perfect, Mozilla, the organization behind Firefox is more mission driven than Google is. Firefox still has my trust. Google has lost it, and I doubt they would be able to get it back, with the trajectory they are on. What put me over the edge with Google was’t about my personal privacy, it was about Google being the poster child for the surveillance economy, and actively working to normalize surveillance when it comes to dominating the technology landscape, and generating massive profits off our daily experiences. I don’t feel like I will single handedly cause Google to change, but I can opt out wherever I possibly can for my own sanity.

I wish I could whisper in my 2008 ear regarding what was going to happen with the web over the next decade, but I can’t. However, I can work to learn from my mistakes, take control of more of my digital self, by cutting ties with Google’s web browser. I will begin addressing some of my other Google dependencies, such as search, videos, email, and the other free ways they have drilled into my life, looking for behavioral exhaust to extract from my daily experiences. This isn’t a fight over the ownership of my data, or just about my privacy, it is about saying no to surveillance capitalism wherever I can, and be accountable when it comes to my digital presence, what data I hand over to powerful technology companies, and the overall health of my digital, and physical self in the 21st century.