Google Chrome has come under fire, as reports swirled about the code being added, unannounced to the browser platform, which would reportedly activate your microphone without permission. While criticism isn’t abnormal for Google, or the Chrome team to receive – this is significant given the fact that it has a big play on determining the perception of Google Chrome.
Google has always been criticized for their privacy issues, or threats of taking away user privacy. However, the company maintains that what it included in Chrome, as well as what was included in Chromium, was completely fair. They argue that the privacy issues are non-existent and that anything that is added in, is done so purely for the functionality of the browser.
The team pointed out that the connection here with activating the microphone was for the purpose of utilizing Google Now. This is a feature that Google has been rolling out to all of their programs and devices, in an effort to bring home better search results for users. Now, the company points out that when a person uses one of the keywords and starts a search – it activates preliminary search figures first, giving the browser a head start. Ultimately, this is how searches are done quicker, and more effectively with Google Now.
That being said, the malicious end of this does seem a little uncertain to say the least. While Google argues that it doesn’t listen all the time, it has been described as a black box for your computer. If that’s the case, and in turn, the new code allows the computer to capture everything that has been said, or done in the recent moments – that could mean Google will take advantage of this piece of coding for their financial benefit.
At the end of the day though, this is yet another claim of Google violating personal rights. Some have argued that this is nothing more than an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory while others have quickly jumped on the privacy exploitation bandwagon. Either way, Google will have to make a seriously public move in order to give them some separation from this issue. Until then, there will continue to be uncertainty on the matter – regarding Google’s privacy, reporting, and coding.
This though isn’t the first time that a company has come under fire for “listening” to its users. Samsung TV recently came under scrutiny for listening to users, since the TV utilized voice commands, and that it could have been selling that information to advertisers, tailoring those advertisements to individuals.