Mac Plugin Installer Installs Software Update

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Jeff Kelley

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Dec 4, 2008, 2:02:31 PM12/4/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
Google should not install spyware onto a machine. The Google Earth
API installer also installs a Google Software Update component,
including a LaunchAgent that runs at user login and a LaunchDaemon
that runs AS ROOT when the LaunchAgent triggers it. This is
unacceptable, especially because there is no option to not install it
in the installer. In fact, it isn't even mentioned that that's what
you're installing. This is bad. Very bad. It's spyware.
Furthermore, there's no mention of this in the uninstall
documentation, which means a user can think they've uninstalled
everything Google but in fact still be contacting your servers
unknowingly. I'm going to spread this around so others are aware.
Thanks for being evil, Google.

barryhunter [KML Guru]

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Dec 4, 2008, 2:31:41 PM12/4/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
Its kinda ironic they are volilating their own principles proposal:

http://www.google.com/corporate/software_principles.html

Jeff Kelley

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Dec 4, 2008, 2:34:18 PM12/4/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin

Roman N

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Dec 4, 2008, 5:03:44 PM12/4/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
Hi Jeff, Barry,

As David pointed out in the blog comments, the software update
mechanism (Google Software Update) is almost entirely open sourced at
http://code.google.com/p/update-engine/ and is in use by several
products, including the Google Talk Plugin, Google App Engine
Launcher, etc. No personal user information is exchanged at all; the
software strictly adheres to Google's privacy policy. Communication
with Google servers is also done over SSL to mitigate potential
network security issues.

I do agree that the documentation for plugin uninstallation is
incomplete with regards to this update mechanism. We will be posting a
new uninstallation procedure that unregisters the Earth plugin from
Google Software Update. Once all applications are unregistered from
Google Software Update, it waits for about one day to remove itself
from the system.

If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to post them
here.

- Roman

On Dec 4, 11:34 am, Jeff Kelley wrote:
> More info here:
>
> http://blog.slaunchaman.com/2008/12/04/google-delivers-mac-google-ear...

barryhunter [KML Guru]

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Dec 4, 2008, 6:20:44 PM12/4/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
From my point of view its not so much the update mechanism itself* -
which in theory we can choose to accept - or reject, its more the way
its almost installed without the users knowledge (therefore denying
making that decision). Granted many users wont really care, for many
advanced users its extremely annoying.

<drift>
* although I still have a distinct unease with an 'auto update'
process that just downloads updates without the user aware or
concenting - but worse installs them blindly.

I admit I dont know the Mac Installer, but the lack of a GUI and
controls for the Update process on windows is quite unnerving. I have
the process running now, but no idea what its doing - or going to do.

(sorry for the drift I guess its not directly related to the Plugin or
Mac)
</drift>

On Dec 4, 10:03 pm, Roman N wrote:
> Hi Jeff, Barry,
>
> As David pointed out in the blog comments, the software update
> mechanism (Google Software Update) is almost entirely open sourced athttp://code.google.com/p/update-engine/and is in use by several

Roman N

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Dec 4, 2008, 6:46:58 PM12/4/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
Hi Barry,

We'll look into modifying the wording on the installer splash page to
clarify this auto update procedure.

Thanks,
- Roman

On Dec 4, 3:20 pm, barryhunter [KML Guru] wrote:
> From my point of view its not so much the update mechanism itself* -
> which in theory we can choose to accept - or reject, its more the way
> its almost installed without the users knowledge (therefore denying
> making that decision). Granted many users wont really care, for many
> advanced users its extremely annoying.
>
> <drift>
> * although I still have a distinct unease with an 'auto update'
> process that just downloads updates without the user aware or
> concenting - but worse installs them blindly.
>
> I admit I dont know the Mac Installer, but the lack of a GUI and
> controls for the Update process on windows is quite unnerving. I have
> the process running now, but no idea what its doing - or going to do.
>
> (sorry for the drift I guess its not directly related to the Plugin or
> Mac)
> </drift>
>
> On Dec 4, 10:03 pm, Roman N wrote:
>
> > Hi Jeff, Barry,
>
> > As David pointed out in the blog comments, the software update
> > mechanism (Google Software Update) is almost entirely open sourced athttp://code.google.com/p/update-engine/andis in use by several

Roman N

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Dec 4, 2008, 7:28:52 PM12/4/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
The new uninstallation procedure will be posted shortly to the FAQ.
Uninstallation now simply involves downloading the following disk
image and running the uninstaller:

http://earth-api-samples.googlecode.com/files/GoogleEarth-Plugin-Uninstaller.dmg

NOTE: This link is temporary. Eventually the uninstaller will be
packaged with the installer disk image.

The uninstaller removes the plugin files and unregisters them from
Google Software Update. As I mentioned earlier, if no other
applications use Google Software Update, it will remove itself after
about a day.

- Roman

On Dec 4, 2:03 pm, Roman N wrote:
> Hi Jeff, Barry,
>
> As David pointed out in the blog comments, the software update
> mechanism (Google Software Update) is almost entirely open sourced athttp://code.google.com/p/update-engine/and is in use by several

shawnce

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Dec 4, 2008, 7:37:17 PM12/4/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin


On Dec 4, 3:46 pm, Roman N wrote:
> Hi Barry,
>
> We'll look into modifying the wording on the installer splash page to
> clarify this auto update procedure.

I don't see any information (other then source which I am looking over
now) about why a Launch Daemon exist for Google Update Engine and/or
how it ensures (assuming the daemon is used for installing) that the
user knows some application that they have run has registered a ticket
possibly causing an update to take place, possibly installing into a
privileged location.

Makes me a little nervous about a _possible_ attack vector for a
trojan written to use the update engine api getting the ability to
install into privileged locations and/or get a script to run with
privileges (at least without the user knowing). ...not trying to throw
out any FUD it just isn't well documented how the update engine works
in this regard (or I am simply over looking it).

Note this isn't related to Google Earth Brower plugin but the update
engine it makes available on the users system.

-Shawn

fraser

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Dec 5, 2008, 3:44:20 PM12/5/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
Hi,

@shawne..re: "...it just isn't well documented how the update engine
works."
see: http://code.google.com/p/update-engine/

F.

shawnce

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Dec 5, 2008, 4:03:29 PM12/5/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin


On Dec 5, 12:44 pm, fraser wrote:
> Hi,
>
> @shawne..re: "...it just isn't well documented how the update engine
> works."
> see:http://code.google.com/p/update-engine/

Yes I know about that page. I did not find an answer to my questions
on any of its pages. If you know of something that answers my
questions please directly link it (I may be over looking something).

Also that page is how I got the source which I haven't had time to
fully grok yet to see if I can answer my own questions.

-Shawn

Ilgaz

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Dec 7, 2008, 8:59:10 AM12/7/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin

On Dec 5, 12:03 am, Roman N wrote:
> Hi Jeff, Barry,
>
> As David pointed out in the blog comments, the software update
> mechanism (Google Software Update) is almost entirely open sourced athttp://code.google.com/p/update-engine/and is in use by several
> products, including the Google Talk Plugin, Google App Engine
> Launcher, etc. No personal user information is exchanged at all; the
> software strictly adheres to Google's privacy policy. Communication
> with Google servers is also done over SSL to mitigate potential
> network security issues.
>
> I do agree that the documentation for plugin uninstallation is
> incomplete with regards to this update mechanism. We will be posting a
> new uninstallation procedure that unregisters the Earth plugin from
> Google Software Update. Once all applications are unregistered from
> Google Software Update, it waits for about one day to remove itself
> from the system.
>
> If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to post them
> here.
>
> - Roman
>
> On Dec 4, 11:34 am, Jeff Kelley wrote:
>
>
>
> > More info here:
>
> >http://blog.slaunchaman.com/2008/12/04/google-delivers-mac-google-ear...

Believe or not, there are people who are seriously irritated by
Google's popularity and massive amount of data Google gathers as a
natural result. By running things as root, without asking the user at
first place, you just add more to the paranoia.

You should have listened to John Gruber's comments about the other
Google software (Desktop) and let me remind you, Gruber isn't a
tinfoil hat or a privacy freak.

http://daringfireball.net/2007/04/google_desktop_installer

These days people doesn't want the $400/$1500 software they purchased
with their credit card to contact web for updates yet alone the Google
should do things as root without asking user.

About the updater behaviour: You are doing same thing (behaviour) on
Google Chrome for PC and very important developer figures even
including the MSFT high level employees criticised it. Why try same
thing on OS X too?

I got very irritated when I notice 2 executables trying to connect to
net. Being open source or anything doesn't matter. Just don't connect
to net. You should take Adobe Flash as example while coding plugins.
Nothing outside /Plugins , a basic update mechanism doesn't create
paranioa, running inside plugin itself which will only check updates
while plugin is active.

knutoletube

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Dec 10, 2008, 7:42:44 AM12/10/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin

i just want to voice my extreme discontent as well to this automatic
installer ware. i cannot even begin to comprehend how google thinks
it's ok to have a piece of software on my machine that 1) takes up
space in my top bar (mac osx), 2) serves a pop-up asking to install
some software i dont even use, 3) does this automatically, without my
consent, 4) gives no option for uninstall, and 5) makes it impossible
to kill the thread in "activity monitor". im simply horrified. and
extremely annoyed. i just lost half (!) of my trust in google - it may
seem like a small thing, but it's the breach of such elementary
principles that does the damage; like suddenly discovering that a
respected peer, which you enjoy having daily conversation with, turns
out to slap his kids, or something. it's an abuse of power, and it has
broken my trust, sorry to say...

now, HOW DO I UNSTALL IT?!?!

On Dec 7, 2:59 pm, Ilgaz wrote:
> On Dec 5, 12:03 am, Roman N wrote:
>
>
>
> > Hi Jeff, Barry,
>
> > As David pointed out in the blog comments, the software update
> > mechanism (Google Software Update) is almost entirely open sourced athttp://code.google.com/p/update-engine/andis in use by several

knutoletube

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Dec 10, 2008, 7:48:59 AM12/10/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
i dont want to uninstall my google earth plugin, i want to remove the
"google software update" altogether! I DONT WANT IT! i dont even know
HOW it got there - can you please tell me that? also, it wants to
install "google talk plugin" - no, i dont want that either. another
point - im no developer, but i follow the things on this page. what
about all those who have no idea of computers at all, how are they
supposed to find out about this? it was only today also, that there
was any info available on the net - last week, nothing. im very
disillusioned with google - whoever made this decision should take a
chill-pill and just relax his overzealous self a bit...

take care, and please clarify!

On Dec 5, 1:28 am, Roman N wrote:
> The new uninstallation procedure will be posted shortly to the FAQ.
> Uninstallation now simply involves downloading the following disk
> image and running the uninstaller:
>
> http://earth-api-samples.googlecode.com/files/GoogleEarth-Plugin-Unin...
>
> NOTE: This link is temporary. Eventually the uninstaller will be
> packaged with the installer disk image.
>
> The uninstaller removes the plugin files and unregisters them from
> Google Software Update. As I mentioned earlier, if no other
> applications use Google Software Update, it will remove itself after
> about a day.
>
> - Roman
>
> On Dec 4, 2:03 pm, Roman N wrote:
>
> > Hi Jeff, Barry,
>
> > As David pointed out in the blog comments, the software update
> > mechanism (Google Software Update) is almost entirely open sourced athttp://code.google.com/p/update-engine/andis in use by several

Roman N

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Dec 11, 2008, 7:46:52 PM12/11/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
Hi knutoletube,

A few points:

0) We feel that outdated software poses a risk, both to the end-user
and the programmer developing a Google Earth API web site. That is the
purpose for this automatic update mechanism.

1) Google Software Update is installed when you install Google
software that relies on it for patches (i.e. security fixes).

2) You can remove Google Software Update by uninstalling all software
that uses it, such as the Google Earth Plugin, the Google Talk Plugin
(for video chat in Gmail), etc. It will then remove itself
automatically after about a day.

3) The Google Earth Plugin installer does not install other plugins;
you may have installed the Google Talk plugin (for video chat in
Gmail) separately.

4) We are working on modifying the plugin installer wording to clarify
that:
(a) Google Software Update is being installed and
(b) why it's being installed.

so that end users are better informed about what's going on behind
the scenes.

I hope this provides some more insight and eases any concerns you're
having. If you're specifically worried about your personal privacy or
your computer's security, please take a look at my first post in this
thread, which explains that Google Software Update strictly complies
with our privacy policy and that measures are in place to keep your
computer's security unharmed.

- Roman
> > > mechanism (Google Software Update) is almost entirely open sourced athttp://code.google.com/p/update-engine/andisin use by several

knutoletube

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Dec 13, 2008, 9:42:53 AM12/13/08
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
hi again, and thanks for your full response.

yes, i see the concern about having outdated software, etc. however, i
am far from reassured, and quite frankly, i no longer trust your
company. i have been plagued all week by a google software update pop-
up in my system, which it seems i will have to uninstall your software
(eg. google earth) in order to rid myself of. why then, should i
bother to use your software and not look else-where? the arguments
give by others above are also very valid, it seems to me, and i cannot
see but that google is hurting itself with this kind of "over-
steering" of its users.

anywho, thanks for your response, good luck in the future. i am sorry
to say that my good-will for your company is now gone, but hey, it had
to happen some day, right?

all the best,
knut
> > > > mechanism (Google Software Update) is almost entirely open sourced athttp://code.google.com/p/update-engine/andisinuse by several
Message has been deleted

Amavida

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Jan 8, 2009, 11:46:23 PM1/8/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
I too would like to state that it is NOT OK to silently install daemon
process's (or any other software frankly).
It is NOT OK to make this a dependancy of your software & make it
virtually uninstallable by the end user.
How dare you tell me it will 'go away in a day or so'.
My god what a casual attitude!
This is what drove people from the Windows platform because it is a
massive security risk.

I have uninstalled ALL google products & will not re-install until i
can verify that they have been laundered of this.
You keep your windows world attitudes mr google developers.
You are NOT doing this to my Mac!
> > > > mechanism (Google Software Update) is almost entirely open sourced athttp://code.google.com/p/update-engine/andisinuse by several

Stian Soiland-Reyes

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Jan 12, 2009, 4:07:24 AM1/12/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
Hi.

I appreciate that Google provides updates to their software. As a
software developer I know how important this is.


What I don't appreciate is software daemons being installed without my
knowledge, running as root, with no option to disable it, and that
pops up even when I'm not running any Google software. (Note that in
my case I have not installed the Google Earth Browser plug in, but
Picasa for OS X - the updater is the same, though)

Most other software updaters only run when you run the applications to
be updated.

I know that on Windows in the early 2000s it was "popular" for silly
programs you never run (like RealPlayer) to put a little icon in the
status bar and constantly do update checks - that doesn't mean that
you should do it now in 2008 in OS X.

Although I might also be annoyed by other programs like NeoOffice
telling me about updates every time I start it, but that's just
because I don't run it that often. If it popped up every day I would
be very annoyed and uninstall it (well, I guess I need a reinstall to
be sure), just like I now have zeroed out parts of the Google updater
binary.

I highly recommend Google to change their update software immediately
unless they want their users to loose whatever tiny piece of trust
that is still left on the "Do no evil" mantra..
> > > > mechanism (Google Software Update) is almost entirely open sourced athttp://code.google.com/p/update-engine/andisinuse by several

MisterE

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Jan 15, 2009, 1:15:16 PM1/15/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
OK, it has been over a month now and the holidays have passed. Would
Google please update us on what the status of this issue is?
Personally I will not be happy with anything short of an option to opt
out of installing the software update daemon and will not install any
Google software until that is implemented but I see there is an
updated version of Picassa that I'm interested in so could we please
hear what the current situation is?

Is it possible to have Picassa installed without this software update
agent?

Thanks in advance for your reply!

On Dec 14 2008, 10:25 am, "[email address]" wrote:
> I'm not happy about this software update daemon being slipped in under
> my nose either. This is not the sort of thing I expect from Google and
> even if you rush to do the right thing now the fact that you did it in
> the first place shows that the ideas at Google about what is OK to do
> to a person's computer are changing. I mean not only does it done
> completely without disclosure, it installs a daemon that RUNS AS ROOT,
> but it also tries to contact your update servers 6 - 8 times a day. If
> I didn't use Little Snitch to monitor my outgoing connections I would
> have never known. Consider Google moved from my "Trusted Nice Guy
> Devs" list to my "Keep An Eye on These Devs" list.
>
> On Dec 12, 7:46 am, Roman N wrote:
>
> > You can remove Google Software Update by uninstalling all software
> > that uses it, such as the Google Earth Plugin, the Google Talk Plugin
> > (for video chat in Gmail), etc. It will then remove itself
> > automatically after about a day.
>
> So I can not have Picassa Uploaders installed without this software
> update daemon / agent plugin? I'm forced to take one with the other?
>
> > 4) We are working on modifying the plugin installer wording to clarify
> > that:
> >     (a) Google Software Update is being installed and
> >     (b) why it's being installed.
>
> >     so that end users are better informed about what's going on behind
> > the scenes.
>
> How about an option to not install the software updater daemon at all?
> Plenty of us check the software tracking sites every few days and keep
> our software updated manually tyvm. If I choose to assume the "risk"
> you mentioned that outdated software poses why will you not let me?

wsedrftgyhuj

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Feb 2, 2009, 4:23:06 PM2/2/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
I've seldom come across such arrogance! Who do you think you are! No
new google software for me until I can have it without this virus!!

Step back and listen to yourselves. Better yet, listen to your users.
I'm SHOCKED.

Gordon

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Feb 2, 2009, 5:19:03 PM2/2/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
The simple fact that we have no choice but to let Google run a
background process whenever it pleases is unacceptable.

In my Applications folder right now I have approximately 150
programmes, most of them from different developers. Most of them have
auto-update mechanisms that check for updates when the programmes are
run. Simple, no mess, no background processes. Now, imagine if every
one of these developers decided that their software was important
enough to justify a background process that would run and auto-update
even when the application was not open. I'd be lucky if my Mac even
ran with all those update processes, and I certainly wouldn't get any
work done with them all popping up notifications constantly.

This is absolutely arrogant — there is no reason your software needs
to be updating itself when it is not in use — you can very easily
check for, notify, and download updates when your application is run
like most every other Mac app. It does not matter how much information
is transmitted or whether the user is informed or not (well, it does,
but it's not the core of the issue). Having a mandatory background
process that is in no way essential to the proper functioning of your
programme is completely unacceptable, and, as stated, if followed by
other developers would make all our computers unusable.

barryhunter [KML Guru]

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Feb 2, 2009, 7:36:02 PM2/2/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
The problem is the small amount of people who are concerned are hardly
a significant proportion of users, and at the end of the day it doesnt
actully stop many poeple downloading.

For many users auto updaters are probably not a bad thing, and they
wont notice yet another process slowing down the computer (its true
the updater takes next to no resources - or it shouldnt anyway! but
every little helps (or doesnt!) )

... its just that most users probably dont know enough to make an
informed decision, they just want the software, so end up blindly
installing another application.

Leo of BORG

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Feb 2, 2009, 11:28:08 PM2/2/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
I apologize in advance for 'going German' on someone from the plex,
but you're Google. Not Sony, and certainly not Microsoft. This is
totally UNacceptable.

"It will then remove itself automatically after about a day. "

In a word: NO.

So, I'm sorry to say, but this broken record mentality reeks of a
company who we'd all rather NOT do business with:

Microsoft.

Furthermore, you should disclose where EVERY file is installer and not
even ATTEMPT to use such irresponsible language as 'after about a
day.' like a computer is some kind of car or Rube Goldberg device.

I don't think ANY security professional or power user would be
assuaged by this. Sorry.

There's no reason why GEarth can't check for updates *in its own
runtime*.

If you're making such drastic changes to the Google Earth API that you
feel the need to push patches to the user, then you might consider a
less 'extreme' form of programming. Like having a build and release
schedule the way companies 'used' to release software.

I for one expect to get PAID for testing builds. NOT to have them
pushed to my production machine.

To the rest of the users out there: This is a good time to buy a
license to Little Snitch and learn what ACLs are.

-Leo [doesn't use Google Desktop for this reason, will now drop GEarth
like a hot potato]

Leo of BORG

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Feb 2, 2009, 11:55:20 PM2/2/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
One more point, *trying to be constructive* to the plex.folk:

Please understand that some of us live out in the realm of VERY SLOW
and/or strictly quota'd so-called 'broadband'. Have you considered
folks who-

Have to live with a tethered laptop? Quota are usually around 5 gigs
every rolling 30 days.

Have to live with Satcom? Depending on the provider, either 7.5 gigs
every rolling 30 days or 200 megs in a rolling 24 hour period.

And these ISPs [Cricket, ATT, Hughes] will count EVERY LAST syn & ack.
And do.

I think that this 'always on, always updating' way of doing things is
going to run a number of your users up against the TOS of their
respective ISPs.

Did I mention that this is a bad idea on a number of levels?

-Leo

kraklin

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Feb 3, 2009, 1:01:35 AM2/3/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
I was also very surprised today to see the background updating of
several of my google applications without opening or requesting their
update. I wouldn't even have seen them mount if growl didn't notify
me.
I'd like to know the name of the processes in question so that I can
block them using little snitch. I'll keep the apps (google earth and
notifier are the ones I use, although I also saw google gears update
itself silently in the background too).
If you can tell me the names of the processes, daemons etc, I'll block
or delete them. thanks

wsedrftgyhuj

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Feb 3, 2009, 1:32:13 PM2/3/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
If we are in such a minority (people who object to this cunning plan),
publish how we remove the daemon. Everyone else can keep it. You'll
still have your thing on 99.9% of Macs out there to attempt to help
your world dominance quest.

I'm looking forward to this story breaking more generally in the tech
press. What do you think they'll say? Conspiracy theories are much
loved - this one could run and run!
Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

MisterE

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Feb 3, 2009, 8:16:58 PM2/3/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
Yes wsedrftgyhuj, Slashdot just loves a story like this don't they?

I can can see story now:

*Google takes away choices about how to update their software* 
Google
has decided to force Mac users to install an update process that runs
as root silently updating Google's programs in the 
background. If you
want to use any software from Google you must accept this. The
compulsory update daemon software removes the 
choice from users who
prefer to update their software manually. No longer can you read some
reviews about a new release from other 
people who have tried it
before deciding to install or not. Now you must take what Google wants
you to have. Google knows best, sound familiar?

How is that for a starter?

I asked for a status update on this matter on 14 December and got no
reply. Now, with the recent update of Google Earth the matter has
gotten a lot more attention. I will wait patiently for a couple more
days for a reply from Google, I know it takes huge corporations a
while to be responsive *sigh* I remember the days when Google was
different. If there's no reply from Google in a couple of days I
think I will submit the matter to Slashdot.

I hear rumor and conjecture about Google making this 'feature'
optional but in the new release of Google Earth you are forced to
install the update daemon to use GE. Your choices are install it or
quit the application. I guess that quells the optional rumor then. At
least you are notified now, that's an improvement but check out the
notification dialogue:

"This software will update any Google software on your computer when
new versions become available. Google Software Update verifies
updates and is safer than downloading files from the Internet
yourself."

Translation = We know what's best for you!

Thanks for protecting me from the big bad internet with all of it's
choices Google!

I know there is an uninstaller but all of Google's software will
reinstall this update daemon when launched so you must choose between
using any of their software and having this background update process
on your computer. This is the truly ugly part of the matter, it's
being forced on us. Very reminiscent of MicroSoft's ways of doing
things before the IT community ripped them for it and now they play
fairer.

Listen up Google, you're not so all powerful that you can't be taken
down a notch or 2 by the same community! I am looking forward to your
reply so we know what your policy is going to be in this matter. In
the mean time I'm not launching Google Earth 5 and there's plenty of
other options out there to the rest of your software.

EAB

unread,
Feb 4, 2009, 3:16:49 PM2/4/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
I'm a seismologist who has become very fond of Google Earth as a way
to display earthquake information, and I was planning to learn to
write KML files of earthquake locations from my research code.
Yesterday I saw the announcement about Google Earth 5 Beta and
installed it. I was disturbed by the automatic update software issue,
but it seems to be required if one is to use this version of Google
Earth so I decided to go ahead and install it to see what the new
program has to offer. Then I used Google Search (oh, the irony!) to
look for commentary on this automated mandatory background update
business. This morning, after thinking about it, I uninstalled Google
Earth and the update mechanism, using the terminal commands posted by
Google (Thanks for that, at least). I won't try to explain all the
things about this automatic background update policy that offend me -
other posts here have done an excellent job of that. I just now joined
this group for the sole purpose of expressing my disapproval of this
approach to software maintenance. It will be aggravating to go on
without using Google Earth (or any other Google software) but I will
not have this kind of spyware on my computer. I am quite capable of
monitoring security issues that affect my computer environment and I
reserve the right to decide when and how to make any changes.

I'll continue to monitor this group to see if Google ever recognizes
the validity of these concerns and provides a mechanism to opt out of
the automated updates.

disableautoupdater

unread,
Feb 5, 2009, 11:02:11 AM2/5/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
Installed desktop Google Earth 5. Nice. But the update agent is a
really bad move.

> 0) We feel that outdated software poses a risk, both to the end-user
> and the programmer developing a Google Earth API web site. That is the
> purpose for this automatic update mechanism.
Weak. Not good enough. There can never be a guarantee that every
client of a
service is always up-to-date. If the client is too old, the server
should respond
appropriately and the user informed that they need to update the app.
This case
has to be handled anyway.

> 1) Google Software Update is installed when you install Google
> software that relies on it for patches (i.e. security fixes).
Fine. It's control over it. When the updater runs and downloads is the
problem. It runs
should when the user tells it too, ie. at app startup usually. And
only if they've
turned on "check for update". However the google update agent
runs automatically on a schedule, and downloads new software without
any knowledge by the user in the background. This is _just_not_on_.
Those of us aware of this behaviour are given no easy way to "adjust"
it.
The google answer is to uninstall all google apps. Seems excessive.
Also, downloading software behind my back wastes precious allowance on
a
my mobile 3G connection. It's not on for any app, including google's.

> 2) You can remove Google Software Update by uninstalling all software
> that uses it, such as the Google Earth Plugin, the Google Talk Plugin
(for video chat in Gmail), etc. It will then remove itself
automatically after about a day.
Pathetic. Again see 1 above. Why isn't there a UI to disable it
completely (see 0),
or change the schedule, ie. change to "only at startup".

> 3) The Google Earth Plugin installer does not install other plugins;
> you may have installed the Google Talk plugin (for video chat in Gmail) separately.
Except the automatic update agent (but it's not a browser plug-in, I
suppose).

> 4) We are working on modifying the plugin installer wording to clarify
> that:
> (a) Google Software Update is being installed and
> (b) why it's being installed.
Wording...? Is google trying to brainwash us now? Is google hoping for
a dumbed down
younger generation to spoon-feed bs?

> ...please take a look at my first post in this thread, which explains that Google
> Software Update strictly complies with our privacy policy...
Google needs a new privacy policy if the behaviour of installing and
running
agent updater software automatically behind the users back, who has no
easy
control over it (apart from a full uninstall, if they look hard), is
acceptable. This is "evil".

Google needs to pick up it's corporate ass on this one. I knew there
was a solid
reason I deleted google desktop search a few years ago.

I like Google Earth 5, so I've destroyed this stupid update mechanism,
obviously.
Something like this will do it:
1) Quit all google apps
2) Delete the launchd entries (one or the other files may exist)
$ sudo rm ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.google.keystone.agent.plist
$ sudo rm /Library/LaunchAgents/com.google.keystone.agent.plist
2) Delete shared google stuff
$ rm -rf ~/Library/Application\ Support/Google
$ rm -rf ~/Library/Google
3) Recreate the above folder as "root" to prevent google apps from
installing
the updater agent code again when re-launched
$ sudo mkdir ~/Library/Google

By changing the ~/Library/Google folder to be owned by root you should
avoid
going through this shenanigans again. Just check for a /Library/Google
too and
do the same to it. Don't give google apps your password.

You need Terminal.app experience for those commands. You can use the
Finder too.
After recreating an empty ~/Library/Google select File>Get Info. Use
the permissions
at the bottom to add the "Administrator" with read/write. Change "..
(Me)" to read only.

And why does google think it deserves a special place in "Library"
which is for
system level items, you know like fonts, preferences, screen savers,
frameworks.
Hubris.

Mario Grgic

unread,
Feb 5, 2009, 9:30:42 PM2/5/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
Yes, indeed. I just tried Google Earth 5 myself. And was appalled by
Google's decision to silently install update agent. Well you know this
is it for me. I have been loyal Google customer, but enough is
enough.

I have not only removed the agent, but also all Google apps. including
Earth. It is time to give up gmail as well. Something tells me that
"Do no evil" motto is a dead letter on the web page.

Mario Grgic

unread,
Feb 5, 2009, 10:26:43 PM2/5/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin


On Feb 2, 7:36 pm, barryhunter [KML Guru] wrote:
> The problem is the small amount of people who are concerned are hardly
> a significant proportion of users, and at the end of the day it doesnt
> actully stop many poeple downloading.
>

The users that are smart to understand why this is bad are the
"leaders of the pack". Bad rep that Google is getting because of this
will trickle down to all users eventually.

Caroling Wholeo

unread,
Feb 6, 2009, 9:13:24 AM2/6/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
Thanks for this information on how to remove the offending updater!
I'm going to do it now.
I found that if I download Google Earth directly from Google, it
doesn't require software update. I hope that's not just because I
already had it. It is possible that the updater only kicks in when I
choose to update from the Help menu within Google Earth.

Jedediah F

unread,
Feb 6, 2009, 11:11:07 AM2/6/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
A better way to disable it would be to use Lingon (http://tuppis.com/
lingon/) which is a LaunchD editor. You can also set up your own time
to run the update or just disable it all together. It is also much
simpler than just trying to do all the hacks to make it not re-
install. If you really wanted to be sure, you could do the below
rather than try your hand at both the GUI and command line

sudo rm ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.google.keystone.agent.plist
sudo rm /Library/LaunchAgents/com.google.keystone.agent.plist

sudo touch ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.google.keystone.agent.plist
sudo touch ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.google.keystone.agent.plist

sudo chmod 000 ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.google.keystone.agent.plist
sudo chmod 000 ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.google.keystone.agent.plist

sudo rm -rf ~/Library/Application\ Support/Google
sudo rm -rf ~/Library/Google

sudo mkdir ~/Library/Application\ Support/Google
sudo mkdir ~/Library/Google

sudo chmod 000 ~/Library/Application\ Support/Google
sudo chmod 000 ~/Library/Google
-

MisterE

unread,
Feb 6, 2009, 11:22:08 AM2/6/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
I just emptied the contents of ~/Library/Application Support/Google/
GoogleSoftwareUpdate and locked the folder.
Then deleted ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.google.keystone.agent.plist
Any problem with doing it this way?

kpapp

unread,
Feb 6, 2009, 11:47:25 AM2/6/09
to KML Developer Support - Google Earth Browser Plugin
For me, the com.google.keystone.agent.plist file was located in:

~/Library/Preferences/com.google.Keystone.Agent.plist

rantrant

unread,
Feb 6, 2009, 12:24:18 PM2/6/09