Along came the internet and updates were downloadable. Then apps began to tell us about their own updates. Now the Mac App Store tells us what needs updating and does it all with a click. That was then. This is now. There’s a new trend among Mac browser apps. They update themselves without telling anyone. What could go wrong with that?
What Does A Silent Update Do?
Google’s Chrome browser and Mozilla’s Firefox have expanded the meaning of inflation. While Safari is just getting around to version 6.x, Firefox is at 15 already, and Chrome is at version 21 (which may change momentarily).
What’s going on? Browser basically do one thing. Despite all the add ons, extensions, and plugins, browsers render a web page so you can view it.
That hasn’t changed much since the days of Mosaic and Netscape. What does version 15 of Firefox bring to the table?
Other than a few backend enhancements, Firefox 15 does what Chrome 21.0.1180.82 does. Silent background updates. While most Mac apps will tell you when a new update is ready to download, you’re still informed and have an option to accept or deny.
Not with Firefox and Chrome. Like it or don’t, you’re getting the most recent updates shoved down your inter web pipes, sans any features you’d like to read about before trying.
Be afraid. Be very afraid. The future is encroaching upon our privacy and diminishing our control over what happens on our Macs.
Apple still reigns supreme because the company that invented technological eye candy loves to tout the latest and greatest features to you so you’ll show more love by spending more money in Apple’s direction.
But Chrome and Firefox are free. Both have pretty much reached the zenith of Mount Feature, and the best those geeky engineers can do– since they don’t know how to bullet point cool stuff like Apple– is just automate the update process behind the scenes, out of your sight.
What’s the harm in that?
How long before Apple begins doing the same thing? Already, Siri takes instructions and responds to queries better than you spouse or children.
How far away are we from our Mac’s being nothing more than a Skynet terminal, where the mothership (have you seen the designs for Apple’s new world headquarters?) dictates updates and we’re forced to accept them or lose our card carrying cultist status (and be forced to use a Dell)?
It could happen.
For now, we have little choice but to be entertained by Apple’s attention to eye candy features, and be ignored by Google and Mozilla (and who knows who else) as they install whatever the hell they want on our Macs, and call it a security update.