Jan 28, 2021, 3:11:10 PM1/28/21
to chromium-packagers, evan...@foutrelis.com, chromium-packagers, joc...@chromium.org
This restriction is actually an extension of the decision that was made a couple of years ago on Android:
On Android, the issue is even more obvious; users have no possibility to export their profile (bookmarks, history and passwords) without going through the sync service (and sending all their data to Google).
Because of that, switching to another browser is notoriously difficult.
It may sound like an attractive decision in the short-term to restrict users.
In the long-term, however, *artificially* limiting users how they can access the information that they stored themselves in their Google account will eventually make the users rethink a lot ("why doesn't Google allow me to access my own bookmarks using an open client ?") and there is a risk that the users conclude they don't need Sync after all (and not that switching to Google Chrome is the best option).
Sometimes, data portability brings more than it takes; what would have happened to Gmail if it hadn't been possible to sync emails to Thunderbird/Outlook ?
Thinking deeply and further away, the main business model of Google is to collect and monetize user data via ads.
Here, 3rd party apps offer to send to Google the bookmarks of the users and their full browsing history; and all of that for free.
I'm not sure why Google is so much against this opportunity; you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.