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Google removing inadvertent ability for Chromium browsers to access Chrome bookmarks, sync


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Google removing inadvertent ability for Chromium browsers to access Chrome bookmarks, sync

 

google-chrome-download-cover.png?w=2000&

 

Besides the intended differences, web browsers based on Chromium offer an underlying experience that’s mostly identical to Chrome. Google recently discovered that users of third-party Chromium browsers have inadvertently been able to access data and other sync features reserved for Chrome.

 

“Some” Chromium browsers today can leverage features and APIs that are “only intended for Google’s use.” This includes Click to Call and, notably, Chrome Sync. The latter is responsible for syncing bookmarks, extensions, history, settings, and more across signed-in devices running the first-party browser.

 

This meant that a small fraction of users could sign into their Google Account and store their personal Chrome sync data, such as bookmarks, not just with Google Chrome, but also with some third-party Chromium based browsers.

 

As a result, users logged into Google sites on Chromium browsers are able to see their old bookmarks and other data from previous Chrome usage.

 

This inadvertent access was discovered during a recent audit and Google will be “limiting access to [its] private Chrome APIs” from March 15th.

 

Guidance for vendors of third-party Chromium based products is available on the Chromium wiki.

 

Users that have been benefiting from this accidental integration — to keep bookmarks in sync — will not lose any information. Any Chrome data stored locally will remain available, while it’s also still in your Google Account. Meanwhile, Chrome bookmarks remain transferable and can be easily exported to a new browser through existing methods.

 

As always, users can view and manage their data on the My Google Activity page. They can also download their data from the Google Takeout page, and/or delete it here

 

Source: Google removing inadvertent ability for Chromium browsers to access Chrome bookmarks, sync

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Sync and other features may stop working in some Chromium browsers in March 2021   Third-party Chromium web browsers will lose Sync functionality and other functionality as Google will limit

During a recent audit, we discovered that some third-party Chromium based browsers were able to integrate Google features, such as Chrome sync and Click to Call, that are only intended for Google’s us

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Sync and other features may stop working in some Chromium browsers in March 2021

 

Third-party Chromium web browsers will lose Sync functionality and other functionality as Google will limit access to "private Chrome APIs" starting on March 15, 2021.

 

Google announced the plan to limit access to APIs on January 15, 2021 on the official Chromium blog. According to the provided information, certain, unnamed, third-party Chromium-based browsers use features that were not intended for use outside of Google Chrome.

 

Google mentions Sync and Click to Call specifically in the blog post, but those two appear to be not the only ones. There is no full list of APIs that Google considers for internal use only. A developer page on the Chromium web page lists more than 20 different APIs that are not available by default when creating a Chromium-based browser.

 

Besides Sync, APIs listed on the page include the Translate element, Safe Browsing, or spelling.

 

All of the listed APIs are not intended for use in distributions, according to the page.

 

Many of the Google APIs used by Chromium code are specific to Google Chrome and not intended for use in derived products.

 

Google discovered the use of these APIs in a recent audit. The company notes that it discovered that some third-party Chromium-based browsers integrated Google features into their browsers, so that "a small fraction of users could sign into their Google Account and store their personal Chrome sync data, such as bookmarks, not just with Google Chrome, but also with some third-party Chromium-based browsers". Google will limit access to private Chrome APIs on March 15, 2021.

 

The company does not mention the names of the browser's that it discovered during the audit. It seems unlikely that major Chromium-based browsers use this. Browsers like Microsoft Edge or Vivaldi use their own sync infrastructure and functionality.

 

It is most likely that smaller browser projects that use Chromium as the base have discovered this method.

Chromium itself in fact, if you download and run it, comes without certain Google APIs such as Sync. The browser displays a warning on first run about it, and you won't find features such as Sync in the settings or be able to use Translate on sites you visit.

 

chromium-google-api-keys-missing.png

 

Google's announcement is vague as it lacks vital information. A likely explanation of what is going on is the following: some browser makers found a way to use certain APIs, the ones mentioned on the developer page linked above, that were not intended by Google for use in distributed third-party browsers; this allowed the makers of the browsers to use Google infrastructure, e.g. storage space and servers, to provide the functionality. Major Chromium-based browsers are likely not affected by the change.

 

Users of affected browsers may use the My Activity Page to download data to their devices or delete it. It is unclear if the data would sync with Google Chrome if Chrome would be set up for syncing.

 

 

Source: Sync and other features may stop working in some Chromium browsers in March 2021

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During a recent audit, we discovered that some third-party Chromium based browsers were able to integrate Google features, such as Chrome sync and Click to Call, that are only intended for Google’s use. This meant that a small fraction of users could sign into their Google Account and store their personal Chrome sync data, such as bookmarks, not just with Google Chrome, but also with some third-party Chromium based browsers. We are limiting access to our private Chrome APIs starting on March 15, 2021.
 
 
For users who accessed Google features (like Chrome sync) through a third-party Chromium based browser, their data will continue to be available in their Google Account, and data that they have stored locally will continue to be available locally. As always, users can view and manage their data on the My Google Activity page. They can also download their data from the Google Takeout page, and/or delete it here
 
Guidance for vendors of third-party Chromium based products is available on the Chromium wiki.
 
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