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I was playing around with Chrome and typed the following in the address bar:

chrome://memory-redirect

And saw the note: "If other browsers (e.g. IE, Firefox, Safari) are running, I'll show you their memory details here."

After I saw the note, openned FF, refreshed the page in Chrome, and sure enough there Chrome was reporting on FireFox.

Any thoughts to if this might lead to any security issues, including but not limited to privacy?

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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I'm pretty sure this is fairly benign. You can use the PSAPI functions to get the same details if you have sufficient privileges. I'm pretty sure this is the basis for the Task Manager built into Windows as well as the Process Explorer. Note that on Linux machines, you can generally see these details as well regardless of your permission set.

Chrome is clearly performing some filtration on the process results to deliver these specific browser details.

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Yes, I'm aware I'm able to see lots of stats on the system. Question is if it seems strange that it appears Chrome is using my system to profile competitors without getting my okay first. I've never seen anything like it before, have you? –  blunders Dec 7 '11 at 23:41
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Your question was whether it opened up a can of insecurity or privacy issues. Neither is the case here since it (likely) uses well-defined interfaces for reporting on processes. The only mildly interesting thing here is that it filters to competitors. In this case, it is a marketing gimmick and nothing more IMO. –  logicalscope Dec 8 '11 at 0:09
    
All I know is that Firefox asks to share info on itself with HQ, but I don't recall Chrome asking the same question, and I'd be pissed off if Chrome was using me to profile their competitors "in the wild" without getting my ok. +2 for a direct answer, and responding to my questions, if no one else is able to provide insight into how this might be a security issue, I'll select you as the answer in a few days. Cheers! –  blunders Dec 8 '11 at 0:17
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There is nothing there that is a security reporting issue - Chrome isn't sending anything back to HQ here, it is simply reporting the memory info you can get yourself.

As Greg says, it is a marketing gimmick - Google have it in there so you can perform a like for like comparison (presumably to show you that Chrome is better at memory usage than competitors)

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