For Whom the Bell Tolls

I’m just rambling along, rabbit holing ; sorry for 765 boring words, but I’m a bit annoyed.

“Chrome Now checks for your mobile location even when Chrome is not running in order to continue showing you relevant Now cards. You can turn off Google Now at any time.”

Pardon ?
In the right hand lower corner of my screen all of a sudden in the windows bar a kind of bell appeared. You know right down, where the date, the time and all these autostarted niceties – like sound-thingy, safety-thingy etc.etc. – show up. The bell is pretty dark and badly recognisable. I first did not identify it as bell, but as a mere grey blob.

Clicking on the bell opens a box that says “Nothing to see here, move along.”
Thank you very much for telling me to “move along” on my own computer !
The box also says “Notifications” – thank you again, for not saying “Ransoms” or something.
To the right (we are still inside the box) are three symbols: A bell crossed out, three horizontal short lines (unclickable), and finally the simplified cogwheel for “settings”.
Clicking “settings” opens the upper part of said box, where it says: “Allow notifications from the following:”. Google Now and / or Google+ are suggested ; one can click the box for each, or not.
The boxes are not clicked, of course .
Next to “Google Now” is an information dot. Clicking on this leads to this webpage. It tells me basically that Google monitors where I go.  Or better, where my mobile devices are.
As if it would be Google’s concern. I have no clue what  “Google Now” may be, or where these “notifications” come from all of a sudden. They did not even feel the need to ask me about this, they simply do it. I don’t even have an account with them. Oh, and yes – of course you can switch it off : Just un-click the boxes.
But : I did NOT switch it on ! I did NOT actively and voluntarily bring this software  – be it a “service” or a program – onto my computer. I not even knew that this existed – before the bell appeared.


So this nonsense can come onto my computer only via the browser, which is based on chromium. “Iron” says it would use the chromium engine etc. but remove the Google-specific “calling home” nonsense.
But in this case Iron Fails.
Iron has to go.

Can one of my beloved readers make a suggestion for a replacement ?


I would very much like to use software that does not “check for my location even when not running”.
And no, I will not use Google hardware like portables or other computers, watches, or cars, or houses or anything else they stick their spy software operating system in. “Internet of Things” (Ger., Eng.), oh dear. When instead of the autonomous delivery truck the autonomous tank comes by – it is just a minor protocol error ?
What started as nice clean search engine (1998, 16 years ago !) slowly but steadily turns into the wet dream of a megalomaniac. What was the last thing they bought – cameras ? San Francisco ? Some minor states for tax evasion ?
Yes, I am slightly exaggerating. But it gets too large, at least for my tastes. Too much information, data, meta-data in the hand of a single corporation, and as we know since SNOWDEN, in the hand of very few agencies. In the end it’s the final victory of sigint (Ger., Eng.) over humint (Ger., Eng.).
Okay, this stupid little bell is not the Untergang des Abendlandes, but something changed. Not for the better. I know that I’m much too unappealing to be spied on, much too poor to be of any financial interest, far away from something that is only vaguely connected to “power”, war & peace or any stately affaire. I simply do not like the idea that all I do online is in some way registered, and used by someone or somewhat I have no idea about. And what Google does, and probably some other companies, is that they blur the line between “online” and “offline” with their refined technologies. This line is already thin thanks to all the portables, all these oh so convenient machines people carry around with them all the time. If there should still be a gap, the android-run “internet of things” will close it. The already barely surveyed data mines will become immeasurably abundant.
One does not need to be a Spengleresque pessimist to see that this is open to abuse. If something is possible, it will be done ; sooner or later.