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Microsoft Says Google Chrome Steals Your Privacy

Microsoft recently posted a video called "Google Chrome Steals Your Privacy" to its TechNet Website. The video explained why Microsoft didn't trust Chrome's privacy and used Internet Explorer 8 as a comparison.

The video has since disappeared but not before Ars Technica saw it and dissected the accusations made. Ars reports that the main accusation Microsoft makes is that Google's move to consolidate both the search and address bar means more of your information is being sent to Google. IE8, on the other hand, keeps these separate and sends less of your information to the search provider.

"As I start to type an address into the address bar, Fiddler [a Web debugging proxy] shows that for nearly every character I type, Chrome sends a request back to Google," Ars cites IE product manager Pete LePage as saying. "I haven't even hit enter yet to load the website and Google is already getting information about the domain and sites I'm visiting."

Next LePage shows us how different things look when you do the same thing using Internet Explorer 8. He begins to type the same address into the URL bar and sure enough, nothing is sent to Microsoft until he presses enter.

Ars Technica's Emil Protalinski writes that the way LePage worded his first argument presents a problem.

"LePage makes an important mistake in his accusation against Google: his statement should not be "Chrome sends a request back to Google" but it should be "Chrome sends a request back to the search provider." He makes this distinction with IE8 but does not with Chrome. The information is being sent so that the search provider can help the user choose a query right in their browser."

Protalinski goes on to say that after downloading Fiddler, it became apparent that Chrome could also be set to send that information to Bing. Not only that but the same "sending information on every keystroke" behaviour is only true for the address bar.

"As we suspected, Chrome can be set to send information on every keystroke to Bing (or any other search engine that supports Search Suggestions) instead of Google. The same behavior occurs in IE8, but only in the search bar. LePage is only correct in his assertion that IE8 does not send information to anyone when the user types into the address bar."

[EDIT] Some kind soul has uploaded the video to YouTube. Check it out for yourself below.

[Update] Have added a video highlighting all the ins and outs of Google Chrome privacy.