Linux environment Gnome fires Google over security concerns

I love Linux, it is no secret. Sure, I may stray to Mac and Windows every once in a while, and bash code-names, but I always come back to my first love; Linux. This week, I even had an argument with its creator Linus Torvalds over some measles, but even that can't stop my love.

My love for Linux, however, is very much focused on Fedora and Gnome3. And so, I am happy to see that Gnome has kicked Google to the curb as the default search engine for its Epiphany Web Browser (aka "Web"). Instead, it will use the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo.

"The GNOME project has decided [...] to make an extra effort towards ensuring users' privacy, and we, the Web developers, believe we need to align with this goal. Using Google's search engine by default is counterproductive to this effect, unfortunately. I assume I don't need to go into details on the many ways in which Google tracks what their users do. DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, does not collect or share personal information", says developer Claudio Saavedra.

People tend to not like change. However, Claudio aims to calm fears with the following points:

  • This partnership is for a limited time, and we will evaluate whether its continuation makes sense, in the long-term. The feedback we receive from our users will naturally have an impact on whatever decision we make in this regard.
  • If you can't stand this, you can always customize the search engine used, choosing whatever suits you best. Simply follow the instructions as documented in the wiki.
  • If you have already customized your search engine, don't worry, this change won't affect you unless you go back to the default.

I applaud this decision by Gnome. After all, Google was named in the big PRISM scandal and Linux users tend to be security and privacy-focused. However, Gnome still has a long way to go before most users choose Epiphany over the more popular Firefox and Chromium. After all, if no one uses Epiphany, the search engine change will be for naught.

Image Credit: Kletr / Shutterstock

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