Google’s recent proposal for a Web Environment Integrity API has sparked controversy among developers and web companies. Many people argue that it gives Google and other major players too much control over access to the Web.

Google’s new API would allow websites to detect information about a user’s operating system, browser, and other software to determine if the browser environment is “trusted.”

Brave CEO Brendan Eich has publicly denounced the API, calling it “junk that Google puts into Chromium.” Vivaldi engineer Julien Picalausa has also spoken out against the proposal, warning that it gives decisive power to certain entities and goes against the principles of an open web.

Mozilla engineer Brian Grinstead has echoed these concerns, stating that the proposal “contradicts our principles.”

Despite the backlash, Google engineers argue that the API would help advertisers better count ad impressions, prevent social media bot abuse, enforce copyrights, and secure financial transactions.

The controversy surrounding the Web Environment Integrity API highlights the influence Google wields over web standards through its dominance of the Chromium browser engine.

With a majority of browsers now based on Chromium, some argue that Google has too much unilateral control over the web platform. This could led Brave, Vivaldi and others to fork Chromium, removing Google services and APIs.

The potential dangers of the Web Environment Integrity API are not just limited to the concentration of power in the hands of a few major players. It also raises concerns about privacy and security, as users could be forced to reveal sensitive information about their software and hardware configurations.

Furthermore, the API could be used to limit access to certain websites or services, creating a two-tiered web where some users are denied access to certain content.

It’s still possible Google may reconsider its proposal and address the concerns of the community.


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