Google joins the web browser ‘Do Not Track’ party

The browser extension, called ‘Keep My Opt-Outs’, is immediately available for the Google Chrome browser. The move comes just one day after Mozilla’s head of privacy suggested a similar ‘Do Not Track’ heading be transmitted through its Firefox browser to prevent OBA tracking.

The new extension was announced in a blog post by Google product managers Sean Harvey and Rajas Moonka, who highlighted the challenges of current opt-out mechanisms. “If you clear your browser’s cookies, all customized settings – including these opt-outs – are lost”, said the duo, adding a more effective anti-tracking method is the browser extension, “[which] means you can easily opt out of personalized advertising from all participating ad networks only once and store that setting permanently”.

Infosecurity notes that a drawback to the opt-out methods being proposed by both Google and Mozilla is that not all ad networks will participate. But Harvey and Moonka prefaced their explanation of Google’s technical solution by mentioning that the top 15 largest ad networks do allow web users to opt out of OBA tracking.

The Google pair also assured that installing the Chrome browser extension would not alter the web experience, but users may notice a change in the type of ads they see online, which will likely not be geared toward individual interests.

The Google product managers also said the company is working on making the extension available for other browsers, in addition to making the code accessible “so other developers can let us know if there’s a bug, or even extend the code’s capabilities if they want to”.

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