Google Chrome Brings Back RSS… Sort of

Google Chrome is to get a new ‘Follow’ feature. As TechCrunch noted, it’s not quite an RSS reader… but it’s pretty close.

In Chrome, users will soon see a ‘Follow’ feature for sites that support RSS and the browser’s New Tab page will get what is essentially a (very) basic RSS reader — I guess you could almost call it a “Google Reader.” Now we’re not talking about a full-blown RSS reader here. The New Tab page will show you updates from the sites you follow in chronological order, but it doesn’t look like you can easily switch between feeds, for example. It’s a start, though.

Google’s Privacy Moves to Face U.S. Antitrust Scrutiny

Apple has been the subject of a plethora of antitrust investigations in recent times. According to Reuters, recent privacy changes from Google, which would see its Chrome browsers ban some cookies, have caught the attention of the U.S. Justice Department too.

Investigators are asking whether Google is using Chrome, which has 60% global market share, to reduce competition by preventing rival ad companies from tracking users through cookies while leaving loopholes for it to gather data with cookies, analytics tools and other sources, the sources added. The latest conversations, which have not been previously reported, are a sign that officials are tracking Google’s projects in the global online ad market where it and No. 2 Facebook Inc control about 54% of revenue.

iCloud Keychain for Chrome on Windows Now Available

Apple has officially released its iCloud Keychain password feature for Google Chrome on Windows, AppleInsider reported.  The new extension means that when using the new Chrome browser users will be able to sync their passwords across devices running Apple and Windows operating systems.

“[The new] iCloud Passwords is a Chrome extension for Windows users that allows you to use the same strong Safari passwords you create on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac when visiting websites in Chrome on your Windows PC,” says Apple in the extension’s listing on the Chrome Web Store. As well as requiring the Google Chrome browser, iCloud Passwords needs iCloud 12.0 for Windows. That in turn requires Windows 10 version 18362.145 or higher, and can be downloaded from Microsoft. Once installed, iCloud Passwords will let you fill in the passwords created in Safari on Mac, iPhone, or iPad, when visiting a site in Chrome for Windows.

Google Chrome 85 Hides Full URL Addresses

Google wants to follow in Apple’s footsteps by hiding the full URL in Google Chrome 85. Instead, with an optional (for now) toggle, users can choose to have the address bar display only the top level domain.

There’s no public explanation yet for why Google is pressing ahead with these changes, but the company has said in the past that it believes showing the full address can make it harder to tell if the current site is legitimate.

However, it’s also worth considering that making the web address less important, as this feature does, benefits Google as a company. Google’s goal with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and similar technologies is to keep users on Google-hosted content as much as possible, and Chrome for Android already modifies the address bar on AMP pages to hide that the pages are hosted by Google.

In other words, Google doesn’t want people to be able to tell the difference between Google and the internet.

New Update Could Cripple Chrome Ad Blockers

Google engineers have proposed changes to Chromium that would break Chrome ad blockers.

In a note posted Tuesday to the Chromium bug tracker, Raymond Hill, the developer behind uBlock Origin and uMatrix, said the changes contemplated by the Manifest v3 proposal will ruin his ad and content blocking extensions, and take control of content away from users.

In totally unrelated news Firefox just gained 50 million new users.