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Re: [Bug 11606] New: wanted: awareness of non-persistent web storage

From: Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2010 23:43:11 -0500
Message-ID: <AANLkTimAsrtBsnzZ1HcrHn_CRQL0G06H3GoPqX9Uz=HH@mail.gmail.com>
To: Drew Wilson <atwilson@google.com>
Cc: João Eiras <joao.eiras@gmail.com>, public-webapps@w3.org
On Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 10:55 PM, Drew Wilson <atwilson@google.com> wrote:
> FWIW, the Chrome team has come down pretty hard on the side of not ever
> leaking to apps that the user is in incognito mode, for precisely the
> reasons described previously. Incognito mode loses much of its utility if
> pages are able to screen for it and block access.

A similar argument can be made for ad blockers, and in my opinion much
more convincingly: ad blockers very directly (even measurably) mean
sites make less money.  Yet, in my years of using ABP, I've never once
encountered in the wild a site that refused to work because of it,
despite the fact that they're trivial to detect.

If ad blockers had been designed to hide their activity from pages,
the end result would have been much worse.  Images would have to be
marked visibility: hidden rather than display: none, since the changes
in layout are detectable.  A huge amount of bandwidth would be wasted,
since the server can check to see that a banner is actually being

This just has the feel of those theoretical problems that are easy to
argue for, but are unlikely to ever actually surface.

> I do think there's a user education burden that isn't entirely being met
> yet, though - the Chrome documentation doesn't really talk about local
> storage, for example. But I don't think that pushing this responsibility
> onto individual web applications is the right solution.

My experience suggests that most users will never know the difference
between local and server-side storage, and probably don't want to;
most designs that require that much user education don't work.  The
most likely end result is ignoring the issue: let a few people lose
data, and if they complain, tell them "it's your fault for using
incognito mode, and your browser's fault for preventing us from
warning you".  Not ideal, but pushing the blame onto the browser is
likely to be the path of least resistance.

Glenn Maynard
Received on Tuesday, 28 December 2010 04:43:44 UTC

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