Q&A: Handing control to Google

Q An alert just popped up, reading: ‘“Google Software Update.app” would like to control this computer using accessibility features. Grant access to this application in Security & Privacy preferences, located in System Preferences?’ I am then invited to click on a button to Open System Preferences, or Deny access. Which should I choose?

A This is unfortunately standard behaviour for the Google Update app which is normally activated on Macs when you install one of Google’s applications, notably its Chrome browser.

If you agree, the updater will be added to the Accessibility services in the Privacy pane in Security & Privacy, and will then download and install updates to Google apps automatically.

Those of us who consider it more polite for apps to ask before they do things like that may be offended, in which case you should click on the Deny button. Accepting does not hand total control over to Google, but given its history, there remains the distinct possibility that Google could want more info than it is entitled to, and one day someone might just exploit this for the purposes of malware. At least you are now being given a choice, but many users will probably wish to deny such control, and update manually.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 30 issue 2, 2014.