Monday, January 28, 2013

I Love Controlling My Software, Google Chrome Doesn't Think So

When I install software, whether it be on my desktop, laptop or phone, it is my unbridled belief that I should be the one that dictates when my software gets updated.  In other words, I, the end-user, should have a say as to when software updates itself.

Don't you?

Now I know many folks love to install and forget.  And lots of software companies set up their defaults to automatically update.  I get that.  But most software has an option that allows you to turn off auto-updates and lets you, the user choose when to have your application do that.

But as far as I can tell, that's not the case with Google's Chrome browser.  And as web browsers go, Chrome stands alone as far as having no options for such.

In FireFox, there it is, under 'Options,' 'Advanced,' 'Update' tab. 

Though I have weened off of Microsoft IE (just because it too tried to control my life), under 'Internet Option,' 'Advanced' tab, there's a check box for "Automatically check for Internet Explorer updates."  (I never thought I'd appreciate an option within IE!)

But god help you if you want to do the same with Chrome.

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Again, this perspective probably applies to only a select few, but I think there's enough of a select few who enjoy their privacy and control over their software that they'd love to be able to control when their software updates.

For me, a humdinger of a reminder of this was when my Google Maps app on my phone decided to update itself while I was in traffic.  Which in and of itself, is not a huge issue.  But I was lost and looking to get somewhere.  But when I started my Maps app, it took what felt like forever to download, install and update itself.

I had to pull over and wait.  Sure, that wasn't a huge crime, but I was in a bit of haste and it annoyed the living crap out of me.  From that day forward, I turned off all auto updates on my phone, and selectively choose which, when and what apps I update.

(I swear, all updating sometimes does is allow the app to deliver more aggressive ads.  Sheesh.)

But I digress!  So I've been rather keen on

A:  Controlling when my apps update themselves,

B:  Making sure I am mindful to go through my list of apps and make sure they're updated

C:  Am mindful that certain apps to do need updating for various and critical reasons, so I review the text on what changes are in some updates.

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But when I could not find any option to turn off updates to Chrome, I did a web search and found that to block updates to Chrome is about as insidious as stopping the GoogleUpdate ap on my desktop!  (Despite turning off Googleupdater, and deleting the process from running, it has backup processes that turn it back on.  So I renamed the f*er!!!)

So for Turning off Chrome Auto Updates, you either need to download a group policy template, editing that, then changing settings.

But of course, if you change your Chrome web browser updates, this could "prevent updates of any new Google applications released in the future, possibly including dependencies for future versions of installed applications."

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Every day it seems as if Google is going down the path of Facebook and Microsoft, taking away some small freedom here and there, adding new restrictions there and here.

There's a reason many folk have bailed on MS and moved to FireFox.  And even though Google controls the internet, if enough folk get cranky about things, change will rise up and bite someone in the digital arse!

Here's a link describing what to do to disable the Chrome updates... short of uninstalling it... and it seems to match up to other results I've found.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/disable-chrome-automatic-updates/
This link has instructions, plus a few files that you can use to create manual update processes.  (I have not verified the validity of the content.)
They also touch on how to set manual updates via another tool, and then, how to actually commit those manual updates.

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But then again, if you're cool with things taking care of itself in the background and never worrying about this stuff, to be honest, that's fine too.  This is just an option to think about!


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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce