Google Limits Access To Chrome API For Third Party Browsers And Developers Relying On Chromium

Google is limiting the ability of Chromium-based browsers to its Chrome-based API (Application Programming Interface), starting from the 15th of March, 2021.

This decision comes in the wake of a recent audit conducted by the tech giant, as revealed by a Chromium blog post going into further detail about this recent change. The audit revealed that some third-party browsers utilizing Chromium's source code for their own interfaces were also inadvertently able to access features that are meant to be Google Chrome-exclusive. The ability to use Chrome sync and Click to Call was found amongst these browsers, which naturally attracted ire from Google itself, which quickly set about remedying the situation.

The blog post stated that access to Chrome's private API will be limited from March, with the expected exceptions being Chrome's own developers. The post does, however, clarify that third party apps relying on Chromium's source code for their own development will still be able to access their data via their Google accounts, which is a rather fair deal. Chromium's open-access nature means that its sister application, Google Chrome, would be bound to let some personal effects slip through for public use, and punishing third party developers by restricting Chromium access in general would be a harsh move.

While the third party apps in question have not been confirmed by Google, there's really no shortage of browsers that have been made using Chromium as a base. With widely recognized examples such as Microsoft Edge and Amazon Silk for the Kindle, and even less popular ones such as Blisk and Comodo Dragon, there is a lot riding on the open-source project. It's being free is just the cherry on top of a cake that Google has been surprisingly willing to share with its competitors.

For developers worried about losing details such as their bookmarks due to Chrome Sync restriction, they need not worry. As part of the accessible data on Google accounts, bookmarks will still remain, untampered and transferable.

It's a refreshing change of pace for a major tech conglomerate to be so cooperative with third party developers, most of which are already down on their luck as it is. Especially when one considers the myriad of API-reliant competitors in the technology world. Here's to hoping Google keeps this market-friendly attitude going for future incidents as well.

Photo: Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency
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