@bradenslen @jeannie @AlanRalph @ton I don’t know the internal power/politics/governance model of Chromium, but having been a part of a couple of “build a similar/competitive thing on the same codebase that’s sponsored by BigCo” OSS projects, it’s almost always “the management of the company who employs most of the developers makes the decisions” when there is a dominant company and/or a company that originally developed the software/sponsored the OSS project. This can even be true in an OSS project with real governance, just because of pure numbers (a company employing more people to work on a project is going to end up with more people in leadership roles because there are more of them to choose from)….
It was Mozilla Corp calling the shots over what went into Gecko (and of course the Firefox UI/UX). It was Sun (and then Oracle) dictating the design, features, and direction of OpenOffice.org—so much so that the Linux distros, who employed the greatest number of non-Sun developers, created their own fork, LibreOffice (with a slightly better name 😉 and a non-profit and true community governance to steer it) and left IBM to pick up the scraps of OOo as Apache OpenOffice. And, in fact, that Apple was driving the direction of WebKit was what brought us Chromium in the first place; Google wanted to architect things differently and focus on different areas, so they forked (they already maintained an internal fork because of the V8 JS engine and some other stuff, so this relieved some of that maintenance burden and let Opera join in).
So—and again, I don’t know how governance, and, really, power, works in Chromium, nor at what code level these changes will be made, though it certainly seems like they’d be to the shared underlying code—it doesn’t seem likely to me that the other contributor-companies to Chromium will be able to sway this decision on Google’s part, at least not without some sort of significant external pressure.
Alternatively, they could possibly patch that feature back in (if the changes are small and non-invasive—which they might be, since Google still plans to let enterprise-Chrome use them) in their own builds, and maintain that forever. Or they could all band together (especially if they get Microsoft) and fork Chromium themselves—but unless they can commit significant resources, a fork of a fork is not promising, and the reason the smaller browser developers chose Chromium in the first place was in part to have a (modern, fast, etc) browser engine without having to dedicate the resources to building and maintaining it all themselves.
Sorry for the length (and especially the gloomy outlook) but thought you might find my perspective/“expertise” of interest…