sers of the Chromium browser are close to losing access to many key features, including bookmark and password sync. Google is isolating access to a variety of personal APIs utilized in Chromium builds from March 15, 2021.
Chromium Sync Features Will Stop Working on March 15
Among the APIs nixed are those supporting the browser’s account syncing services, translation, and spell checking.
- Google account sync
- Click to Call
- Chrome spelling API
- Contacts API
- Chrome translate element
Why is Google yanking support for these features from Chromium, which is the open-source foundation of Google Chrome?
The security they assert, noting that inclusion of those “exclusive APIs” in open source builds “…meant that a little fraction of users could sign into their Google Account and store their personal Chrome sync data, like bookmarks, not just with Google Chrome, but also with some third-party Chromium-based browsers.”
Google says access to those features isn’t alleged to be accessible out of Google Chrome, and revoking their access is restoring intended functionality.
Except these APIs are equivalent ones that are available to Linux distros maintainers packaging Chromium for, what, just like the past seven years? Quite why Google has barely “noticed” their use is …Odd.
An earlier version of this text listed the Safe Browsing API together of the resources affected. Google has since clarified that this API is unaffected. However, some versions of Chromium with the Google API revoked don’t currently detect malicious links.
Chromium API Removal Affects Everyone
Although these APIs are being axed within the near future they’re, at the time you read this, still work. and that they will still work until mid-March. But it’s important to understand once Google cuts off access to those API keys it affects everyone who uses Chromium. But all version of Chromium is going to be affected from March 15, even on older builds where the API keys are still present.
The more people that hear about this alteration before it happens, the better
In fact, all Linux distributions are affected regardless of how they prefer to package Chromium. On Ubuntu, the ‘pure’ Chromium package may be a Snap app (even if you put in it with apt) which is maintained by Canonical. Linux Mint offers a standard repo version of the browser.
Some Chromium package maintainers on Linux have already disabled the APIs now, before the stop date.
How will Chromium users react to the present decision? Probably with confusion. those that don’t hear about it before the deadline will likely be left confused, and should assume something has broken their config or within their Linux distribution’s packaging.
So the more people that realize this alteration before it happens — and know why it’s happening — the higher.
If you employ Chromium for Linux it’s important to understand that your sync data won’t be deleted but will only be available locally. Any data you’ve got synced from Chromium to your Google account will remain available through My Google Activity page and Google Takeout, also as from Google Chrome.
Firefox may be a First-Class Chromium Alternative
Google would really like users of open-source Chromium builds to modify to fully-fledged Google Chrome. This ensures all of the Google-based features folks are conversant in remain accessible. And since it’s easy to put in Chrome on Ubuntu (and most major distros) this isn’t a difficult solution, either. But Google Chrome isn’t open source — a key decider for several.
What’s the simplest open-source alternative to Chromium?
Firefox is preinstalled on most Linux distros (and available from the repos where it doesn’t) and it’s built-in sync features that are equally nearly as good as Google Chrome. And since Firefox can import passwords, bookmarks, cookies, and history from Chromium a switch needn’t be much hassle.
Not every Chromium-based browser are going to be suffering from the API change. Vivaldi, which is predicated on Chromium, uses its own sync engine, as does Microsoft Edge (though Edge for Linux currently lacks support for it).