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Google Update Goes Open Source for Privacy


Netstat -vat by Sean Michael Kerner (bio)

A command line view of IT


From the "Open source means better privacy?" files:

If you run any number of different Google apps (Desktop, Chrome, etc.) on Windows, then you've got GoogleUpdate.exe running in the background as a system process. What GoogleUpdate.exe is supposed to do is continuously check with Google for updates and then download them when available.

It's a little thing, but it is something that has raised privacy concerns -- what exactly is Google sending back and forth?

In order to deal with those privacy issues, Google announced late last week that it was open sourcing the updater, known as project Omaha.

"We're releasing the source code for Omaha in addition to recent enhancements to Omaha functionality, to provide both transparency and control around the update process," Google's engineers wrote in a blog post.

"Since Google Update is always running on your system, there's no simple way to stop it, and since it's a fundamental part of the Google software that needs it, it's not explicitly installed. Some users can be surprised to find this program running, and at Google, we don't like disappointing our users. We've been working hard to address these concerns, and releasing the source code for Omaha is our attempt to make the purpose of Google Update totally transparent."

While I applaud Google's efforts in opening up Omaha from a privacy point of view, there are still some issues in my opinion...

[Continue reading this blog post at Netstat -vat by Sean Michael Kerner]