It goes without say that we’ve been patient on our side, that this no longer has much to do with us – our presence is mostly on mobile – and that you know I’m not one to buy into those theories on how evil Google is. But the number of ‘bad cops’ stalking the Internet – be they «hackers», operating systems, or search engines (AKA Google) – is now verging on the ridiculous. And it’s not just that net neutrality under threat here, due to the corporate desire to turn the Web into another television; it’s also all the little stunts being pulled by Chrome like the one I describe below.
As of a few weeks ago if you try to download an .exe file from Chrome on Windows you’ll see this lovely notice:
A descriptive message in which Google has decided something for you about your ‘browsing experience’ and offers no alternatives at first glance to download the original file (in this case, Firefox). This happens indiscriminately for any executable file you go to download on Uptodown via Chrome for Windows.
A few more insignificant details:
The file has passed with flying colors all scans by NOD32, McAfee, and the more than 50 antiviruses included in VirusTotal (which is itself owned by Google and is indeed doing a good job).
The file is stored on Uptodown but is completely original. Untouched, unpackaged, with no downloaders or installers.
The URL, for both the main domain for Uptodown and the download itself, comes out completely clean in checks by SiteAdvisor and Norton Safe Web, and reputation analysis by WOT (Web of Trust). Oh, and also the URL analysis from VirusTotal.
One of Google’s own pages says the following: http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=www.uptodown.com
Why Chrome blocks them? Probably the classic criterion: I’m The Man, the Internet’s newest Bad Cop, and I do whatever I want, because there’s no list to consult, no criteria to follow. This despite the fact that it makes users leave a site that’s transparent, secure, and free, to instead land on some banner or alternative result that asks you for payments or installs a useless toolbar with your download.
We on Uptodown have our principles clear: more freedom to decide, more information, more transparency. Fewer blocks and limits on information.
Let’s give a warm welcome to the latest member of the Club of People Who Think They Own the Internet: Google.