Mike Stone

Mostly The Lonely Howls Of Mike Baying His Ideological Purity At The Moon

Google Limiting API Access

19 Jan 2021

I don’t use Chrome. I don’t even use “Chromium”, but I do use a browser that is based on the Chromium engine. Vivaldi. I’d written several different posts about it in the past, and knowing my predilections, I probably will write several more. So why does an announcement from Google about Google specific APIs interest me?

Mostly I’m interested because I don’t know if this is going to affect me personally. This is what Google had to say on the 15th:

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.

They don’t go so far as to name names, which is kind of frustrating to me. I wish they’d just come out and say who it’s going to affect. What they do mention specifically is “Chrome sync” and “Click to Call”. Neither of these features rings a bell for me as features that are present or even options in Vivaldi. I know specifically Vivaldi has it’s own cloud sync and does not use the Google version. Click to Call? I don’t even know what that is.

What I do know is this. There are several different Google options in Vivaldi. This actually surprised me as I didn’t think I had anything “Googly” turned on.

Really, the only one in that list that remotely worries me is “Web Store”. I do still use extensions from the Google Chrome Web Store in Vivaldi. Since it’s Chromium based, it’s always been compatible. I hope that this is not one of the things that Google intends to cut off.

If Google does cut that off from Vivaldi, it will do a lot of damage to non-Google Chromium based browsers. Vivaldi isn’t the only 3rd party browser that uses those.

I need to be fully transparent here. I don’t know for certain that Google is cutting anything off that Vivaldi uses. I’m just going through and seeing if this is going to have any impact on me, or on people that I’ve recommended Vivaldi to. Hopefully, I’m just worrying about nothing. Hopefully.

If I’m not, I guess it serves me right using a Chromium based browser that utilizes Google services.

Day 5 of the #100DaysToOffload 2021 Series.

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