Most people are probably aware of it, but you can always get a very recent version of Gooogle Chrome from which all the auto-update and call-home-to-mama-google features have been surgically removed. Works great for me and it is my standard browser for the laptop (since the UI is so space saving)- even online banking is no problem.I've always found this (and similar projects) a bit ironic. "Don't trust Google? Well try this version from someone you know even less about!"
The tamed chrome version is SRWare Iron:
It's great that Chrome is OSS and thus the community can fork it however they please, but as a user I don't feel any more comfortable. I don't have the time to diff the source and ensure they're removing evil and not adding some of their own, and with there being multiple forks (and growing) it's rough for any of them to develop much of a community.
(I'm not targeting SRWare in particular, but all of the Chrome forks that claim to be less evil.)
So... do you apply the same reasoning to *nix and therefore not trust it either? ...Sooner or later you have to trust someone, even if it is just yourself.
I don't trust Google, becaust I don't trust Google. Sure the have a great search engine, and that's all fine and dandy. But I've yet to see any of their software that didn't have a noticable negitive impact on the machine it ran on.
I spend a lot of time dealing with client machines, some business, some home use. All seem to exibit the same (complaint/resolution) problems in regard to Google's software. If the Shell is dragging, uninstall Google Desktop, & Problem vanishes. Browser Dragging, Uninstall Google Toolbar, problem vanishes. I seen this pattern repete over and over again to the point that it is now a reflex.
Simply put, if I need a slew of benchmarking utilities to measure the impact that any given piece of software has on my machine ... Then I don't care what the impact is. However, if a given piece of software effects the machine to a point that is noticable during average use (especially by an average user) ... then that gets my full undivided attention. Google's software consistently draws the same level of negative attention hence there is no way in hell I'm going to waste my time futzing around with their ("Let's all Go Compute in a Cloud" oriented) browser.
SRWare I've never heard of, which (for this) is good as they haven't annoyed me (Google has) ... So I'm willing to take some time to experiment with their browser. It's been on my to-do list for a month or so, I just haven't had time. But my general impression of them so far is good.
...The enemy of my enemy is my friend ... meh, could be...