Chrome like browsers contact Google at startup

I’ve installed Google Chrome, Chromium, Comodo Dragon, SRWare Iron on different occasions, to test them.
At startup, Comodo Firewall shows that they all (minus Iron) try to establish a https connection to Google servers, even though google is not the default home page, javascript is disabled, cookies are blocked, I have no extensions installed and the suggestions from the address bar are disabled too, just like the updates. There should be no implicit connection from my browser to any predefined server.
Comodo Firewall has no rules for these browsers, so I have to allow their actions manually.
This seems a little strange to me because some of these browsers underline the fact that they try to protect your privacy.
Does anyone know why these connections are initiated, and aren’t they a concern for privacy?
For example these browsers try to connect to 209.85.135.139, a google server.

Thanx.

Here’s the short story:

I installed all the following browsers inside Sandboxie because I still prefer an old version of firefox, and all have the same settings, shown in the following images. All the settings exclude any relation to google.
From all the tested browsers only RSware Iron 4.0.280( that doesn’t disable Javascript though ; you can disable Javascript in SRWare Iron 5.0.380 Beta) doesn’t seem to contact google at startup.

Tested browsers:

SRWare Iron 4.0.280 - doesn’t contact google, but can’t disable Javascript by default - huge no-no.
Comodo Dragon v.4.1.1.7
Comodo Dragon 4.1.1.8
Chromium 6.0.412.0
ChromePlus1.3.9.0
Google Chrome 6.0.408.1 Beta

The most interesting and puzzling thing for me is that the other browsers still contact google at startup, even not invited to do so.
Do you have any idea why is this?

Details and images:

Sometimes at startup Comodo Dragon didn’t contact google and just started a normal http session, but other times it started by calling google servers.
(If you block the https request to google, then Comodo firewall will block the browsing for the rest of the session.)

Searching the web I couldn’t find anything related to this.
What’s the point of saying your browser is protecting your privacy when you contact googl almost every time you start your browser? Please make the same tests on your machines, you should have the same results. I’m only curios about why this is happening with these browsers because I’ll still be using firefox.

Images:

I’ll upload the images with the settings for all browsers and their connections to google at startup.
The images are for Comodo Dragon v.4.1.1.7, Chromium 6.0.412.0, Comodo Dragon 4.1.1.8 , ChromePlus1.3.9.0 and Google Chrome 6.0.408.1 Beta.

Here are the links for the images uploaded to a media hosting service:

Comodo Dragon v.4.1.1.7:
http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/4986/cdv411701firstrun.png
http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/4623/cdv411702otherrun.png
http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/4083/cdv411703otherrun.png
http://img710.imageshack.us/img710/2726/cdv411704whoishttps.png
http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/6831/cdv411705settingsbasic.png
http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/2690/cdv411706settingsperson.png
http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/3913/cdv411708settingscookie.png
http://img514.imageshack.us/img514/8747/cdv411709settingsplugin.png
http://img443.imageshack.us/img443/3808/cdv411710settingsjs.png

Chromium 6.0.412.0:
http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/7238/chromium01firstrun.png
http://img188.imageshack.us/img188/8397/chromium02anotherrun.png
http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/2572/chromiumsettings01basic.png
http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/8412/chromiumsettings02under.png

Comodo Dragon 4.1.1.8:
http://img693.imageshack.us/img693/6018/comododragon4118latest0.png
http://img36.imageshack.us/img36/6018/comododragon4118latest0.png
http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/6018/comododragon4118latest0.png

ChromePlus1.3.9.0:
http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/3684/chromeplus01firstrun.png

Google Chrome 6.0.408.1 Beta:
http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/6467/chrome01firstrun.png

Another privacy issue:

If in Comodo Dragon 4.1.1.8 I use a home page like for example level.ro, the browsers starts by creating a http connection to a comodo server (maybe is for updates but I doubt it - I don’t even want to update) :

http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/6505/comododragon4118startot.png

Once Comodo Dragon tried to contact a comodo server ( 91.199.212.171 ) when my home page (loaded at startup) was about:blank.

So this browser does one of three things at stratup: it connects to the requested site like it should, tries to establish a http connection to comodo or tries to connect to google using a https connection.

Some of the other browsers tested try to contact google at startup every time ( one example is Chromium 6.0.412.0 ).

[attachment deleted by admin]

Can you please provide us with a screenshot of this happening?

Can anyone explain the issues raised upon Chromium based browsers?

Do you have any extensions installed?

According to him, when he tested, he didn’t had any extensions installed.

I did not test. I am just curious about the issues that he has brought up. :slight_smile:

Hi monitorlizard.
Sorry for delay in answering.

There are several ways when Comodo Dragon contacts Google for getting info from it.

  1. There are tooltips that are shown on the button line of the browser. Comodo Dragon updates that list by downloading new tooltips from Google.
  2. Spell Check Dictionaries are also downloaded from Google.
  3. Some webpages contain code of Google Analytics. On such pages browser contacts google as well.

Currently I can not say exactly which of these ways you faced with.

We reassure you that none of these ways can transfers any sensitive information to google or any other Internet site, or compromise your privacy in any other ways.

Can you please run the test again with about:blank as your homepage and if you get the same behaviour please send us the entire request content so that we could find out the reason.

Kind regards,
Vadym.

Hi Vadym

I don’t want to say something bad about anybody, but the fact that most of Chromium based browsers contact google servers at startup seems strange to me. If someone doesn’t like a free applications is free not to use it.
I don’t want people to start being paranoid about this.

How I tested the browsers is simple - I installed them inside Sanboxie, set them so that all the settings are spartan, really basic, and then just start the browser, check what Comodo firewall has to report, then close the browser and restart the process.
This is all done to see if these browsers contact any strange servers, different from the startup page servers. Most do contacted google at startup.

Frankly I don’t have the time to test them over and over again. It’s boring and I’ll get the same results. I’ll still install some from time to time and do the same boring tests again, but they are easy to do and everyone can do them if they have installed a similar firewall to comodo firewall. One could use a packet sniffer too, but it would be more time consuming.

Most of these browsers contacted google at startup.
At startup, Comodo Dragon contacted google sometimes and the comodo.com servers less frequently, but did contacted them.

As I said Comodo Dragon even contacted a comodo server ( 91.199.212.171 ) when my home page (loaded at startup) was about:blank. It did happen, that’s a fact, but Comodo Dragon doesn’t contact the comodo servers too often.

3) Some webpages contain code of Google Analytics. On such pages browser contacts google as well.

In my tests i set up the start pages to pages that don’t use Google Analytics, I even used ftp servers as start pages, and google was still contacted.
From what I know you need to have javascript enabled on the page you’re viewing and that has google analytics support, for the Google Analytics scripts to run. That’s the whole point in google analytics- to gather data with scripts, there’s no point of putting inside the page a static image that’s on a google analytics server.
Javascript was always disabled in the tests so no google javascript code should have run.

1) There are tooltips that are shown on the button line of the browser. Comodo Dragon updates that list by downloading new tooltips from Google. 2) Spell Check Dictionaries are also downloaded from Google.

Chromium contacts the google server every time at startup. I don’t use the browser spell checker. Should Spell Check Dictionaries be downloaded every time you start your browser? I don’t think it makes sense, as you can start your browser 100 times a day.
What about tooltips? I never heard of any application requiring to download tooltips over and over again. If you don’t change the interface you don’t need any new tooltips, and in my opinion the default tooltips should be integrated within the program. Moreover, for example in Firefox if you download a button, the tooltip is also downloaded inside the package, so there’s no need for any regular downloads for them.

I appreciate your reply Vadym, but these reasons you stated don’t seem a plausible explanation for a logical application and I try to explain why. If the browser is implemented this way and checks to download some Spell Check Dictionaries; even if I don’t use the spell checker; and tooltips at every startup, then I think it shouldn’t and it could do well with a redesign.
Google could very well do whatever they want in that first https session and maybe also download tooltips and spell check dictionaries. But why would applications developed by different firms contact google at all if you, as a user don’t need it?
I’m not a programmer to have the experience and I don’t have time to look at the source code to see what is going on. It may be almost impossible for a single person to do that, and I don’t know how many other programmers are checking the source code.

Because I don’t know why google servers are contacted at startup by the browsers, I hoped someone else from the forum that uses these kind of browsers on a regular basis could.
When I first tested these browsers, the fact that most of them contacted google at startup seemed striking to me, as google has many reasons to use data about user profiles and browsing habits .

Users should know what are the implications of using a certain application.
If these implications are not in the user’s behalf and are just stipulated in the end-user license agreement , sometimes cryptically (and meaning a lack of transparency from the developers part), than its just sad because almost nobody reads the EULA and the developer could loose some of its user base.

I tried my best to comment on your answer Vadym and thanks again.

Here’s the bottom line: Other browsers, like Firefox, Safari, IE don’t contact any servers at startup if you set them not to. On the other side, Chromium based browsers, sourced on a project that is tied to Google, do contact google at startup even if all the visible and accessible settings inside the browsers have no connection to google. Why is that connection made by these browsers alone, without the users explicit desire?

If you have any other ideas about why these Chromium based browsers contact google at startup, feel free to tell us, too.

I’ve downloaded Comodo Dragon v4.1.1.8 and started doing tests again. Fortunately I didn’t have to do a lot of them.
I’ve changed the settings, as previously shown and, again Comodo dragon contacted the comodo servers at startup even if the start page was set to about:blank (without me even interacting with the browser window) .
I started the browser 7 times, during the second session I changed the settings and set the start page to about:blank. After this the browser contacted comodo servers at least 4 times out of 5 restarts. Sometimes in the past tests it did this less frequently and had to do a lot more restarts.

Here are the images:

At the first startup, the browser contacted a google server (74.125.87.138) - I guess It’s OK because it had default (factory) settings.
http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/6526/01afterinstallfirstruns.png

Second start - still default settings - the browser contacts a google server ( 74.125.87.106 ) - still OK.
http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/1205/02secondrunstilldefsett.png

Please notice that the first time it’s a https connection, the second time is just http.

Now I change the settings to correspond to my desires, and the new start page that is loaded automatically at startup is about:blank.

During the next starts ( number 4, 5, 6 and 7) comodo dragon contacted the comodo server 91.199.212.171 at startup.
http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/1791/04fourthtimestartedtypi.png
http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/9306/05fifthtime.png
http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/9886/06sixthtime.png

Using Sandboxie I installed Comodo Dragon v4.1.1.8 in different sandboxes from the same installer and I saw that after the installation and after creating the custom settings, the browser in the first sandbox contacted the comodo server at startup, but the second browser in the second sanbox contacted the google servers at startup. The second behaviour was usually the rule because I installed the browser again from the same installer and it contacted google.

Using the same installer, it appears that for some installations the browser will contact the comodo server at startup, and for other installations it will contact the google servers. Maybe is related to the time when you install the browser, or other criteria.

This new tests were done using the same settings as before, with about:blank as home page, opened at startup.

So, sometimes the browser prefers google, other times just contacts the comodo servers.

From all the browsers tested :

SRWare Iron 4.0.280 ( you can’t disable Javascript from the settings),
SRWare Iron 5.0.380 Beta,
Comodo Dragon v.4.1.1.7,
Comodo Dragon 4.1.1.8,
Chromium 6.0.412.0,
ChromePlus1.3.9.0,
Google Chrome 6.0.408.1 Beta ,
with the exception of SRWare Iron 4.0.280 which doesn’t have all the options that the other browsers have, all of them tried to contact google servers at startup. Comod Dragon sometimes contacted the comodo server.

Inside the settings for SRWare Iron 4.0.280 I didn’t even disable spell checking ( from: Font and Languages > Check spelling ) and it didn’t dial to any server at startup.

Even with the default (factory) settings in place, SRWare Iron 4.0.280 and SRWare Iron 4.0.280 Portable don’t contact any servers at startup.

Best regards,
monitorlizard

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