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Google to limit Chrome sync API following audit

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Google has announced that it will be limiting access to private Chrome APIs that enable features such as Chrome sync and Click to Call so that only its browsers can use them. The decision follows an audit by the company which uncovered that third-party Chromium-based browsers were using the APIs.

The web giant said that users of some third-party browsers were able to sign in to their Google Account and store and retrieve their Chrome sync data in their third-party browser. The data they could access includes bookmarks and presumably passwords. Google isn’t happy this is happening and has said that the APIs that enable these features will be restricted from March 15, 2021.

For users that have already accessed these features, their data will still be available in their Google Account and will continue to be stored locally in their third-party browser. To continue using the restricted features, users will have no other option than to switch to Google Chrome or Chromium.

Google Chrome’s Engineering Director Jochen Eisinger who authored the post did not share which browsers were using these APIs but Chromium has become an extraordinarily popular choice to build browsers on top of. Microsoft’s Edge, Opera, Vivaldi and Brave are some popular web browsers that are built atop of Chromium but they each have their independent syncing services.

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