In a recent audit, Google found that some Chromium-based third-party browsers were able to provide their users with integration with Chrome Sync, Click to Call, and other features exclusive to the Google version of the browser. As a result, a small percentage of users were able to log into their Google Account through the browser wrapper and sync their data! Their bookmarks, among others, were able to be added to the overall experience the same way they would be in old Google Chrome.
Google took the open source code from Chromium and spent countless hours on it with its own internal development teams to create unique and competitive experiences. Third-party browsers that may have accessed Chrome Sync have not been publicly identified through the Chromium Blog, but as a result, Google is restricting access to its private Chrome APIs from March 15, 2021.
The company reassures users who may have benefited from this accidental access during this short period of time will continue to be able to access all of their account data via the web or the official Google Chrome browser. Additionally, Chrome Sync is now optional and not mandatory, so users who want to use Chrome without syncing to the cloud can do so, although the benefits will be limited. Google Takeout also offers users the option to retrieve a copy of their data for safekeeping.
It’s an interesting and strange situation, but it’s good that Google has taken control of the situation. Say what you want about Google, but they work hard with some really smart people to deliver these unique and competitive features. If I created something, I wouldn’t want others to take it and use it elsewhere. It’s kind of like eating a McDonald’s burger at Starbucks – that might be cool, but don’t be that guy.