posted by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd Sep 2011 15:45 UTC
IconIt might be common, but that doesn't mean I'm not allowed to wail against it - especially since I was not familiar with this particular case. As it turns out, several of Adobe products' download pages have opt-out checkboxes to also install Google Chrome. This was spyware-like behaviour when Apple did it with Safari and the iPhone Configuration Utility, and it is still spyware-like behaviour when Adobe and Google do it with Chrome.

Since I haven't downloaded Adobe Flash separately for a while now (Chrome has it included anyway), I hadn't yet noticed this, but as it turns out, when you go to Flash' download page, a checkbox is marked which automatically downloads and installs Google Chrome alongside Flash (unless you already have Chrome installed). The checkbox is marked by default, so it's opt-out instead of opt-in. Further DuckDuckGoing reveals that Adobe Reader X, too, has Chrome bundled with it.

I have no issues with these kinds of bundles - or with Apple using its updater to offer Safari to Windows users - but only if it's opt-in. In other words, the user should have to specifically select a checkbox - if he doesn't, no additional spyware should be installed.

You can expect this kind of behaviour from sleazy toolbars and porn sites - but not from Google and Adobe. The only reason I'm highlighting this here as much as I'm doing is because this sleazeball and slimey behaviour needs to stop. Chrome is perfectly capable of getting around on its own (unlike Safari for Windows, which sucks beyond belief), and this only reflects badly upon an otherwise excellent browser.

Google and Adobe, please stop this.

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