Saturday, March 19, 2016

Google Software Updater

Update (March 24, 2016).-- Since removing (nuke) Google Software Updater using the one line command, there have been no signs of Google on my computer outside using the search engine with Safari. And this has continued after updating to OS-X 10.11.4 this week.

I rarely used Google Chrome anymore and it's updates within the browser. I removed Google's Web Design app and only keep Google Earth Pro on my Mac, which rarely has updates. This means I don't need the Google software updater.

Original Post.-- I won't hedge my words to say that I'm a consistent user of Google's search engine, and don't use any of the other search engines after comparing results awhile back, albeit a few years now, to realize none of them are that good for very specific interests.

But I'm not a fan of some of Google's practices with users' information, and as such I don't routinely use Google Chrome, only to test changes on Web pages to ensure they work with Chrome. I'm a 99+% time user of Safari, even with some of its problems with Tumblr and other Websites which use unusual designs, applications or html code.

I also only use Google Earth Pro, but none of their other applications or services, except of course Blogger which is owned by Google and requires a Google user ID. One practice and application they have has been a source of irritation for years.

Some people may not know that if you install any Google application, Chrome being the most ubiquitous followed by GMail and Google Earth, Google installs it's software updater. The user is not informted as it's installed in the background at root level where the user never sees it unless they look at the console log.

And if they do they see the Google Software Updater start when the start or reboot their computer and runs every hour to check the status of the Google applications on their computer. Yeah, Google is watching what Google software you have and what version of it is on your computer.

You can remove all the Google applications from your computer but that won't remove the software updater. Until last year Google used to provide the instructions to remove it, but they dropped it when they redesigned it and left it to hackers to find how to remove it.

Most people might find this application innocuous since they don't pay attention to it and it's not thought of as malware or a virus, just another application watching applications, but some, like me, thinks it's onerous of Google to do this, since it's done without the user's knowledge or permission.

Adobe also does it through the Creative Cloud application with subscriptions, but the user knows this and controls the settings for it. The user controls how the application manager works on their computer. And a lot of applications check for updates, etc. when you open them and click the tool for it.

But with Google software updater, Google seems to try and stay ahead of the hackers trying to figure out the process, really a single line command, to completely remove all signs of the application. It's necessary to have this application in case you need to troubleshoot and reinstall stuff, it helps to remove the old verison.

And this is where, if you want to remove it, you have to search for the latest report, which is found using Google search for "Google Software Updater" and looking for the most recent report, which you can find at Never Ending Security or at Superuser (updated within last 6 months or so).

The command they provide requires administrator access, not root unless you're very confident of your talents not to break things, or know how to fix them if you do break them. I have that access on my Mac Pro so it's just the command and admin password.

The program is the same for managing the application with the different options, and the "--nuke" is the best as it completely remove every file associated with the application. The last line in the console log for "GoogleSoftwareUpdater" is the successful removal of itself.

Since I use other sources to report when updates are available for applications, such as Mac Update, you don't need Google doing it or keeping track. Google Chrome updates a few times a year and you can use the brower itself to check for and install any updates.

Google Earth rarely gets updates and isn't a target for hackers, so you can run older version for a long time, until the operating system won't let it work anymore. And don't user other Google applications but I suspect they have their own update tool in the application.

Anyway, that's the story today. I'm done with Google's Software Updater, until I install any new application, updates don't add this application, and then I'll run the command again. I like some of their software, just not this one and them watching.

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