Tempering with browser’s home page or settings is a negative search ranking factor and has a very strong chance to trigger a penalty. According to Google:
“Changing a user’s browser homepage or search preferences without the user’s informed consent” is a form of malicious behavior.” source
Of course, Google’s web-browser – Chrome – having about 67% Internet browser market share (as for Dec 2018), makes it critical for Google to maintain Chrome’s default homepage as Google Search. Additionally, Chrome’s address bar (the one you use to type-in URLs) is set up to use Google as the default search engine. Wouldn’t you think that Google will penalize anyone trying to foul play their “gold settings”?