I occasionally use Chrome as browser on macOS. It’s a fine browser and I use it most of the day at work. But it always bugs me that Google sees fit to run update processes constantly, even if Chrome isn’t running. Luckily, I have Little Snitch on my Mac. I’ve written about this profile before, but I’m sure it’s time for a refresher.
I create a “No Google” and a “Ok Google” profile in Little Snitch. These are basically mirror opposites. The “No Google” profile blocks all Google out-going and incoming connections for the Google apps.1 It still allows Safari or other applications to connect with Google.
At the end of the setup there should be a few different rules in the “No Google” profile. Notice that because I restored my old Little Snitch configurations to a new Mac, some of the Google software is no longer relevent, which is why the rule shows as red. No matter, if I ever do install the “GoogleSoftwareUpdater” it will already have a rule ready to block the network traffic.
When I want to run Chrome and allow it to update I switch profiles from the Little Snitch menu bar. Traffic is allowed as normal. I wish Little Snitch allowed profile switching based on application launch but I’ll take what I can get.
All other Little Snitch rules are in the “Effective in all profiles” profile. This way the only thing my other profiles interact with are the Google connections.
Go ahead, watch your traffic and see how often the Google updaters run even when the app isn’t running. This isn’t about a privacy concern. It’s about crumby decisions by Google to constantly phone home even when I’m not using their services. ↩︎