Many people have ditched Google Chrome in recent years, due to Google's seemingly unquenchable thirst for our data. It basically sends everything we do in it back to Google, installs random software quietly on our systems, and has even been caught turning on peoples microphones for eavesdropping.
Now, github user Eloston has created a project called Ungoogled Chromium, which forks the open source browser, and removes all traces of Google from it, aiming to increase privacy, control and transparency. Let's have a look at it.
Installing on Windows and Mac is pretty easy, since there are pre-packaged binaries you can use. Just check out the releases section on the Github repo, download and run the binaries.
Eloston has also added various hashes too, so double check you've downloaded the real files.
To install on Linux, simply download the various .deb files, and use dpkg to install:dpkg -i FILENAME
If you have an active firewall, you'll notice that unlike regular Chrome, this version doesn't have tonnes of other Google apps and services running in the background which try to connect to their servers.
They've also substituted many of the domains in the original source code with a .qjz9zk gibberish suffix, meaning they are automatically blocked. This is another way to stop the constant phoning home.
The default search engine has been switched to DuckDuckGo, but that itself may not really be private anymore, but regardless, you can change it, and this means everything you type in the address bar isn't automatically sent to Google.
Things like extensions are blocked by default, but it's possible to install them manually by going into developer mode.
One of the other cool things is that since Chrome is basically the only browser that fully supports Universal Second Factor Authentication, you can use bitcoin hardware wallets, and hardware authenticators to login to websites securely.
There are many more features that you can check out in the release notes on the Github page.
I think the best thing about this is that it gives you options. Maybe you need to use Chrome for a specific reason, like testing a web app, or using U2F, and this lets you do that without all the bullshit which usually comes with installing Google's software.
There are potential downsides, especially when it comes to vulnerabilities and automatic patch updates, but if you keep on top of that sort of thing, you should be fine.
What do you think? Will you be using this? If you find any other interesting projects like this, be sure to let me know. Thanks for watching.