With all the privacy violations happening within the last few years, from Facebook’s multiple scandals, to Google getting all fishy, I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with Google’s Chrome browser. For years, I’ve used it as my only browser, choosing it over Firefox. Granted, there are other options out there, like Opera, and the hated Edge browser. However, with Microsoft deciding to use Chromium, and Chrome just becoming an even larger resource-hog, I’ve jumped ship. That’s right, I finally have abandoned Chrome and all of the bullshit associated with the browser.
My primary concern, has been privacy. If you, like so many others, have nothing to hide… I’m happy for you! That’s a great way to be, because I’m the exact same way. And, for years, I’ve believed the exact same thing. However, having nothing to hide should not be a phrase to excuse you giving up your data to these corporations. Facebook continues to use your data, whether you have an account or not, whether you’re logged in or not, and Google is the same way. I still use my Whatsapp, and Instagram, account, unfortunately, but I’m working on making the switch to Signal in the next day or two. I’ll also be making a switch from Google’s Gmail service, to a better alternative. In fact, I’ll be completely deleting my Google accounts, including files, music, etc. Whatever I don’t have downloaded, will be downloaded, backed up, etc, until I’ve completely removed my data from the servers. I’m no fool, it’ll be there in some form for a while. But I’ll at least sleep better. I’ll have to switch to using Dropbox, Signal, and ProtonMail. I’ll have to update my LastPass account, which I can’t even remember the last time I logged into to make a change. This is why the process will take me several weeks, to at least get the most important things switched over.
I won’t get in to any of the politics of the “nothing to hide” argument. I don’t have the time, nor do I want to get into that. Your views are your own, and I’m not going to convince you otherwise. However, I’m getting the hell out. Starting with switching to Firefox. I’ve already deleted my Facebook account, some 2 years ago. In fact, right before the Cambridge Analytica scandal was revealed. I would delete Twitter, but I’m using it already for this website. Instagram and Whatsapp are next, as that’s the last two accounts I have with Facebook. I’ll replace Whatsapp with Signal, and just do without seeing my family’s weekly Sunday selfies, with their preachy subtext. I don’t need it, it’s just a distraction.
So, why am I letting go of Chrome? Aside from the incredible fact that Chrome runs anywhere from 7-10 process with just a single tab open, it takes anywhere from 10-20 seconds to just load the new tab page. Sometimes, the pages will freeze completely for a time, rendering the browser, and only the browser, a useless waste of pixels. Launching often only gives a completely blank, white screen until Chrome finally decides it’s loaded enough to give me a blank gray screen. Additionally, the privacy factor. Yeah, I have “nothing to hide” but I don’t want anyone with the potential to get that information. I’m sure I’m already on a list somewhere, and I don’t need to be on any more.
Since I’m switching to Firefox, I’ll detail some of the challenges. First, there’s bookmarks. Thankfully, I can easily import those from Chrome to Firefox. It’s already done. Next up, was passwords. With LastPass, that’s made incredibly easy, other than needing to install the Binary version of LastPass. This was a simple enough process:
- First, click the LastPass extension button in Chrome.
- Click “Account Options” from the dropdown, then “About LastPass”
- In the new tab, there will be a button named “Enable Native Messaging.” Click it and wait for the Chrome popup.
- In the popup, allow it install the Binary version. It’s a small .exe file that will install to your computer.
- Once installed, it will scan for insecure passwords. Once scanned, it will import those passwords into LastPass and delete the insecure passwords from your computer.
- That’s it! Now you can log in to LastPass on Firefox (or any other browser) and have all of your saved Chrome passwords there.
That’s done, but there’s still a few things to finish. Logging in to all those sites. I’ve probably got some time to do that, as I won’t be using every website today, or probably even tomorrow. However, the data is there, available, and ready to use.
The last thing I need to do: Uninstall Chrome. Remove that temptation to go back and stick with Firefox.
Now, just to correctly summarize my feelings in the ways of my people.
Of course, I still have to change my default search engines. I still have to make the move over to ProtonMail. And remove myself from various other Google products. In fact, I need to make the switch on my phone as well. I’m not yet sure how the phone will act without a Google account, but that may be something to tackle in a few weeks. For now, I’ll, at the very least, feel better knowing that Chrome no longer kills me PC when I try to launch it.
When I get ready to tackle a few of the new challenges listed above, I’ll be sure to make a post about it. It’s something more of my technologically-inclined family members have been asking me about, and after this post, I’ll be making a better effort to at least document some of the ways I’m taking control of my privacy, while I still can. Stay tuned, I’ll be back.