Google Chrome Privacy Policy Changes Hint at Public Launch of Mac, Linux Versions

It’s been just over a year since Google surprised the world with a release of their very own web browser, Google Chrome, now the basis for the company’s upcoming operating system. Despite its flaws (lack of RSS support, no extensions), the browser soon became a hit among the niche crowd of early adopters…at least those running Windows. Why Windows? Because Google has yet to publicly release versions for either the Mac operating system or Linux. However, a recent update to their Privacy Policy hints that may be about to change.

In June of this year, Google finally released the first official beta versions of the Chrome browser for Mac and Linux. The builds were made available in the developer channel, but Google warned users that they were not ready for public consumption, only testing. Since it took nearly a year to get the point of beta releases, can it even be possible that Chrome for Mac and Linux is now ready for a public debut?

Not to get your hopes up, but a recent update to the Google Chrome Privacy Policy makes us wonder. A few days ago, the first two opening paragraphs of the Chrome Privacy Policy were revised. The old and new versions are provided below with bold indicating the changes:

OLD:

The Privacy Policy below applies only to Google Chrome for Windows. For the Developer channel releases on other platforms see the privacy policies for Mac OS X and Linux . The Google Privacy Policy describes how we treat personal information when you use Google’s products and services, including information provided when you use Google Chrome. In addition, the following describes our privacy practices that are specific to Google Chrome. Google will notify you of any material changes to this policy, and you will always have the option to use the browser in a way that does not send any personal information to Google or to discontinue using it.
Information Google receives when you use Google Chrome

You do not need to provide any personally identifying information in order to download and use Google Chrome. When you download Google Chrome or use it to contact Google’s servers, Google receives only standard log information including your machine’s IP address and one or more cookies. You can configure Google Chrome to not send cookies to Google or other sites as explained here.
NEW:

The Google Privacy Policy describes how we treat personal information when you use Google’s products and services, including information provided when you use Google Chrome. In addition, the following describes our privacy practices that are specific to Google Chrome. Google will notify you of any material changes to this policy, and you will always have the option to use the browser in a way that does not send any personal information to Google or to discontinue using it.
Information Google receives when you use Google Chrome

You do not need to provide any personally identifying information in order to download and use Google Chrome. When you download Google Chrome or use it to contact Google’s servers, Google receives only standard log information including your machine’s IP address and one or more cookies. On Google Chrome for Windows, You can configure Google Chrome to not send cookies to Google or other sites as explained here. Google Chrome for Mac and Google Chrome for Linux currently do not allow this level of configuration.
What Do You Think?

Maybe we’re grasping at straws here, after all, the change could be referring to the developer builds of the browser and they’re simply cleaning up the language for simplification. Still, that would be odd considering that they removed the reference to the developer builds’ privacy policy, wouldn’t it? Or then again, maybe Google is just consolidating the privacy policies for both the developer and public builds. A third option is that Google could be getting a little of the administrative work out of the way before they make the Mac and Linux builds public.

Testers have been reporting that the developer builds have been seeing steady improvement and the Chromium builds (the open source project that serves as the testing ground for Google Chrome) have been shaping up on a daily basis, too. Maybe a public version of Chrome for Linux and Mac is almost here? We can only hope.



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