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Google Adds To Mozilla's Push For 'Do Not Track'

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the lot-of-progress-for-one-day dept.

Google 128

AndyAndyAndyAndy writes "In a morning blog post, Google announced the release of a Chrome plug-in called 'Keep My Opt-Outs,' which hopes to block all tracking cookies. Interestingly, it is released as open-source with the hopes that it will gain quick deployment on non-Chrome browsers and find a robust foothold against ads. The story is also covered at Computerworld, which has broader insight into the issue, looking at Google, Mozilla and Firefox, and seems to indicate more rapid change is looming — potentially from the FCC itself."

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But... (2, Funny)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34986814)

... I love cookies!

Cookie cookie cookie!

NOM NOM NOM!

Re:But... (3, Funny)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987176)

You're a monster!

Re:But... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987754)

Cookies are delicious delicacies.

Re:But... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34989102)

That's not Offtopic, for fuck's sake.

Re:But... (0)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989302)

That's not Offtopic, for fuck's sake.

I know. I thought it was more "ontopic/funny" but I guess the army of early-post haters got me first.

FCC (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34986828)

Didn't they undergo a massive cave-in to special interests?

Re:FCC (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987110)

Didn't they undergo a massive cave-in to special interests?

No, to call it a cave-in would imply that they were going to do something different before pressure was brought to bear.

Re:FCC (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989958)

A wall of Balsa Wood is still a wall. I'd like to think that for twelve seconds they were considering the right thing before saying "Lol right."

TFS is wrong: FCC is irrelevant (3, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988192)

Didn't they undergo a massive cave-in to special interests?

We can argue all day about that, but it doesn't really matter since the organization that is putting on pressure for do-not-track mechanisms is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), not the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that recently adopted open internet ("net neutrality") rules that have been panned by some neutrality advocates as "worse than nothing" in terms of restricting ISP abuses and by some ISPs and Tea Party types as a totalitarian takeover of the internet by government.

Fast Turn-around (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34986842)

I know, lots of tech implementation problems, but Google's fast turn-around indicates that someone between Mozilla and Google is on the same page.

Re:Fast Turn-around (4, Interesting)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987146)

They are not on the same page. Blocking cookies is pointless. Robust all-knowing behavior tracking occurs on the server side. By implementing a header flag, Mozilla is ahead of the game. That flag covers any kind of tracking currently used or to be deployed in the future by asserting a generic end-user request always and uniformly. Blocking cookies addresses an obsolete tracking mechanism.

Re:Fast Turn-around (2)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987396)

>> Blocking cookies addresses an obsolete tracking mechanism.

So that's why I don't see any cookie on my system at all!!??!?

Re:Fast Turn-around (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987642)

Obsolete doesn't mean nobody uses it. Companies that don't have wide ranging access to user behavior across multiple sites on their backend have to use cookies. People who have content linking back to their servers placed on pages across many domains can do such tracking. Hint hint.

Re:Fast Turn-around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987634)

Banning all user info makes the browser quite broken. Just by taking two crucial bits of info, language and plugins, and combining that with the IP address (for area), already narrows 90% of viewers. UA is also generally a bad idea to obfuscate.

Then there's Flash, which invalidates any browser security. All browsers should make plugins click to enable by default.

Re:Fast Turn-around (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987756)

And if you'd RTFA, you'd see that this plugin has nothing to do with "blocking cookies". In fact, it does entirely the opposite.

Re:Fast Turn-around (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988788)

OK, "focusing on cookies," "dealing with cookies," "working as if cookies were the most important tracking mechanism." TFA [google.com] seems to refer only to cookies.

Re:Fast Turn-around (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987990)

By implementing a header flag, Mozilla is ahead of the game.

Sure, in the sense that Mozilla's approach might have much broader applicability in the future. But, a browser sending a header that no server existing does anything with acheives nothing.

"Keep My Opt-Outs", OTOH, supports an existing industry-standard opt-out mechanism that lots of existing advertisers use (and more are adopting.)

Mozilla's approach does exactly nothing now, though in theory, hosts could add support for it in the future.

Google's "Keep My Opt Outs" works with the mechanism by which providers of personalized advertising allow people to opt-out from the tracking that supports personalization right now.

Re:Fast Turn-around (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988804)

Not true. The big behavior trackers no longer rely on cookies and haven't for some time. Cookies are a red herring, which is the point I am flogging.

Re:Fast Turn-around (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989136)

Not true. The big behavior trackers no longer rely on cookies and haven't for some time.

I don't think you understand how the extension works. Its not a cookie blocker, its a cookie store that doesn't get erased when you erase your cookies -- specifically, it stores cookies for the cookie-based opt-out system that the big behavioral advertising providers are using.

One problem with this system without an extension like this is that clearing your cookies will clear your opt-outs. This system preserves the opt-out cookies (and ads them for new trackers as they become part of the system) so that you have a durable opt-out.

The actual method used for the behavioral tracking is irrelevant to the extension, what does matter is the method supported for opting out of the tracking.

Re:Fast Turn-around (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989476)

Gaaahhhh! After re-reading it several times, it appears that you are right. It is an "opt-out cookie" management mechanism. It looks like the new aspects are that they now include management of other companies' opt-out cookies, presumably based on a list of known such cookies, that would have to be maintained by someone. It is similar to the Mozilla idea in that it is persistent, but I like that Mozilla's method is 1) generic, and 2) ever-present. Both mechanisms would rely on behavior trackers' voluntary or enforced compliance.

Sorry, Dude, my mistake.

Re:Fast Turn-around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988096)

Google is getting behind something they know they can safely ignore.
Lets all trust that google will respect this new flag

Re:Fast Turn-around (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988188)

Just like the evil bit protects us against present and future network attacks.

Re:Fast Turn-around (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989982)

Let's say they are on different pages of the same book called Pro-Privacy. I freely agree some ideas may be technical disasters, however they create a "mind-space" in our world of flying headlines that indicates a direction. A "Mind-space" of "Let's block all the tracking stuff" is at least in the right direction in my view, even if it's only as actually relevant as that page describing the typeface chosen.

Re:Fast Turn-around (2)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987468)

I think it's a good idea in general, to provide the option to not be tracked. Q: "Why are we doing this?" A: "We recognize that some users are uncomfortable with the personalization of ads that they see on the web."

I don't mind personalized ads. Just yesterday I was looking at Banquet Homestyle Meals, and about an hour later, slashdot sent me a personalized ad to the same thing, on sale, at Meijers. It was one of those rare cases where I was glad to see the advertisement, since it was showing me what I was looking for.

Re:Fast Turn-around (1)

Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987968)

It was one of those rare cases where I was glad to see the advertisement

Isn't that the point of all this? That it's the rare exception that tracking is useful to anybody?

Re:Fast Turn-around (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989998)

Really awesome personalized ads can be fun. But I'd want to have explicitly turned on a button that says "I want to visit Minority Report for an hour". Then you can play in their playground with Meijer results, the pizza shop down the street, etc etc. But for it never to stop, it's really creepy.

TFS is wrong: not a response to Mozilla (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987832)

I know, lots of tech implementation problems, but Google's fast turn-around indicates that someone between Mozilla and Google is on the same page.

This isn't a response to Mozilla.

Both Google's actions with "Keep My Opt Outs" and Mozilla's "Do Not Track" header are responses to the FTC urging the industry to adopt do not track mechanisms (with the strong implication that, absent sufficient non-mandated progress in this direction, mandatory regulations would be imposed.)

Google already provided a similar mechanism for all major browsers to opt-out of Google's own tracking; the new extension -- initially available in Chrome but, per Google's announcement, being worked on for other browsers as well as released as open-source, extends similar durable opt-out to other tracking services (and is designed to update itself to include new services as they are added to its database.)

Google... and ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34986860)

So, those who jump up and down everytime on any story of Google trying to prove they are just evil can at least take one of their nonsense off their list - that it's in Google interest to sell your information at any cost?

Just shut up...

Re:Google... and ads (4, Interesting)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987388)

It's also in Google's interests to implement weak voluntary controls rather than FTC-mandated strict controls that would more-directly impinge on Google's bottom line.

An FTC ruling which dictates something along the lines of "You must default everybody to opted-out of all advertisements, and allow them to opt back in if they wish to," pretty much destroys Google's business overnight. "No need for the FTC to take action, since the browser makers have already provided a system to allow users to opt out of advertisements if they wish to," hurts a lot less.

Re:Google... and ads (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988032)

An FTC ruling which dictates something along the lines of "You must default everybody to opted-out of all advertisements, and allow them to opt back in if they wish to," pretty much destroys Google's business overnight.

Well, except that it would almost certainly be struck down by the courts, and its not even the subject that the FTC has been looking at. A more reasonable FTC order on the subject actually at issue, which mandated opt-out of ad personalization via behavioral tracking wouldn't have nearly that effect on Google (they'd still be able to serve ads, and even contextual ads.)

No need for the FTC to take action, since the browser makers have already provided a system to allow users to opt out of advertisements if they wish to," hurts a lot less.

The opt-out mechanisms (both the one that Google has had for years for their own tracking, and the new one that they just released for other people's tracking) are for behavioral tracking that supports personalized ads. They aren't opt-outs for advertisements at all. Its tracking, not advertising, that you are opting out of (and that's also the issue that the FTC has asked the industry to do something about if it doesn't want the FTC to step in -- behavioral tracking, not advertising.)

Re:Google... and ads (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988290)

What is this belief that advertising requires tracking? It doesn't. It never has. Do advertisers like traking? Sure. Do the require it? No. If all user tracking were stopped today, there would still be advertisers paying to put ads on Slashdot. They would determine what ads to put up the same way they do on TV and in magazines. They would put ads that would be most likely to appeal to the consumers of the product being offered. In fact, Google might make MORE money if tracking were stopped. They would still be selling the ad space, but their customers would no longer have an expectation of getting detailed info on the end users. Thus, same revenue, and less work for Google. Less work means more profit.

Re:Google... and ads (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989096)

I think you are oversimplifying. Advertisers have always tracked and have always liked to track. Everything depends on the demographics of the medium where the ads will appear, and the demographics are the product of tracking, even back in the old days. Today they want to track everything because 1) they can, and 2) this allows them to focus ads more sharply than ever before.

Now you can tell with a high degree of probability that an end user is on the market for size 7 women's lavender-colored running shoes with a digital calorie counter and striped shoelaces. Advertisers of such shoes would kill their grandmothers for that kind of data.

Re:Google... and ads (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988396)

The same can be said for Mozilla. By implementing a feature like the header, they can choose how they want to provide this kind of improvement to users. On the other hand, if they wait around for the FCC to force a decision, they might get locked into a method that Microsoft developed (with licensing costs of course), a method large ISPs like AT&T or TimeWarner prefer (ISP provided advertising like television), or something completely out of the blue that will get held up in court proceedings for decades.

Being first out of the gate on this lets Mozilla set the bar that everyone else has to match or beat, and gives them strong leverage if mandatory solutions start being discussed.

DO NOT FUCKING TRACK ME !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34986864)

Oh, right, X-DO NOT FUCKING TRACK ME: yes

and so on and so forth let it be known that this is the way it is now and will be tomorrow and forever after, ahhhmen !!

Re:DO NOT FUCKING TRACK ME !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987192)

Stealing shit, are you?

Why are you afraid otherwise?

THIS IS WHAT WE'VE BECOME !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34986900)

There is a well-known curse in Silicon Valley which revolves around the fact that when product upgrades are pre-announced (whether by the company or not), sales for the existing product plummet. This isn't so with Apple.

Actually, the curse hasn't been in play for many items at all over the past decade or so. The latest example of this is the iPad II. Everyone knows it is coming, perhaps in April. It's apparent that it will be using a newer, higher resolution display. This new version will probably incorporate all the features missing from the original Apple iPad. Everything people moaned about will be fixed.

It doesn't seem to matter, though. The old iPad continues to sell like hotcakes, and the company will probably take inventory close to zero when it rolls out the new model.

I'm personally baffled by this. Do people have so much disposable income that they can cavalierly buy what is essentially a dead product and not care? Or, as most of them will do, knowing the behavior of the Apple mavens, buy the old one then the new one too. The magic spell Apple can cast on the public is amazing. I, for one, am glad to see the company use its hocus-pocus in China where the four Apple stores are a massive hit with the public.

The disappearance of the pre-announcement jinx is pretty amazing to me. It sure does smooth roll-outs and marketing schemes. Apparently, there are only a few people like myself who didn't buy the original product and will sit and wait for the follow-up product. Apple has erased the "wait and buy" guy.

There used to be an unwritten rule amongst the tech cognoscenti that you never got in on anything right away. Smart money laid back in wait. For a while, there was the notion that nothing should be bought or considered until version 3.0 arrived. It was always version 3.0 not 2.0.

This 3.0 concept had to die, because a company would go broke before releasing 3.0 of anything. But the idea of waiting and seeing remained solid until recently. Part of the demise of this sound idea stemmed from better marketing and the demise of the old computer magazines that promoted the wait and see notion.

While it's easy to blame Apple for killing the conservative approach towards tech, it was actually Microsoft with its rollout of Win95 who is to blame. That's when the lines and waiting overnight phenomenon began. TV reporters interviewed the people waiting in insane lines, and news stories were written about the all clamor. This is how Microsoft could pull off amazing, worldwide, PR stunts. I never could isolate the person really responsible for this new stunt at Microsoft, but they were long gone by the time XP and Vista arrived.

I figure they went to Apple since the idea transferred from one company to the other just like the baton in a relay race. Apple had it and was running hard.

So, now things have changed. Buyers are not cautious, and they need to have things right away, no matter what.

A new version is coming out tomorrow.
"So what, I need it now!"
Why do you need it at all?
"I just do. Everyone else has one!"

Wow. This is what we've become.

Re:3.0 (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987040)

The Linux Kernel might never make it to 3.0.

Re:THIS IS WHAT WE'VE BECOME !! (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987324)

What is the link with tfa ?

Re:THIS IS WHAT WE'VE BECOME !! (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987382)

interesting rant but next time, please try to post it on a related article

it is good news (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 3 years ago | (#34986904)

maybe all our cries for privacy are having some effect.

Re:it is good news (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987022)

maybe all our cries for privacy are having some effect

No. They've probably though of another way to track our usage and the cookies don't matter anymore.

Re:it is good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987846)

or maybe they've realized the only people worth tracking are those who -- *gasp* -- have an actual Google account and are logged in.

Google doesn't make all their money by selling your info anyway... they make it by being paid for facilitating click-throughs. It's Not The Same Thing.

Re:it is good news (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987266)

In other news...

Google CIO submits orders to increase their tracking database by 1 bit per user.

Fast forward (3, Insightful)

serano (544693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34986928)

Why don't we just skip to the part where everyone has enabled this feature.

Re:Fast forward (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987066)

"Each browser configuration consists of a unique creative work of customizing settings by that particular user, and undue tracking of those unique specs consists in a copyright violation to be subject to the rates of Thommas-Rasset at $750 per tracked copy per site per click."

Re:Fast forward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987236)

..Per packet.

Re:Fast forward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987148)

IPv6 address space: permanent static IP

We lose while this is opt-OUT, rather than IN (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988692)

"Why don't we just skip to the part where everyone has enabled this feature."

Why don't we scrap the idea and have opt-IN tracking instead. You know, like how spam is UNSOLICITED stuff? Anything less on websites represents a loss of rights from what we have with email -- and that's pretty dire already.

Interesting coming from Google (2)

nsanders (208050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34986936)

who pioneered use of the first persistent cookie (set to expire in 2038, I believe?)

Re:Interesting coming from Google (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987184)

Not all cookies are bad.

Re:Interesting coming from Google (2)

godrik (1287354) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987330)

My grandma's cookies are awesome!

Re:Interesting coming from Google (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987630)

My grandma's cookies are awesome!

And they expire before 2038

Re:Interesting coming from Google (4, Funny)

silverglade00 (1751552) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987886)

And they expire before 2038

So does grandma.

Re:Interesting coming from Google (0)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987892)

So go ahead and make the case for cookies that expire 10 years (or more) in the future.

Re:Interesting coming from Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987720)

Not really. They allowed you to block Analytics[1] a long time ago. They're also probably the only major website with complete HTTPS support. Cookies shouldn't now be a surprising move.

1. https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/fllaojicojecljbmefodhfapmkghcbnh [google.com]

depends on the info, not all bad (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34986968)

Getting some of your info tracked is not all bad. I could see where it leaves technical specs of your computer and begins to geolocate you without your permission or cross-reference you with social networks etc... Buut, at the same time none of us likes to see advertisements that flash telling you to punch a monkey after taking some Viagra. In an ideal world, you would see LESS advertisements if advertisement blockers didn't exist, and you would see more relevant ads that would benefit you from clicking it by having your information tracked. However, this is in an ideal world and it just doesn't work in this world.

Personally, I have ABP installed and if it's a website I support ie: Slashdot, I'll disable ABP. I may not click on the ads but just viewing them somehow gives back a little bit.

Re:depends on the info, not all bad (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987084)

I didn't read my first sentence while revising (strange I know right?) I didn't mean that geolocate you without permission or cross-referencing would be a good thing. I meant the complete opposite and getting some technical specs like browser info, if javascript is installed, etc... That shouldn't be a problem for anyone realistically if it's kept anonymous.

Re:depends on the info, not all bad (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987096)

(Humor)

Hi jappleng. Your post suggests you like geotracking.

BEGIN AD: Did you know the KnightRider edition GPS actually used brand new prompts by the same voice actor as the original series? End Ad:

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
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.

P.S. Your actual article starts here. So long to your ideal world.

Re:depends on the info, not all bad (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987842)

lol I know you were kidding but at the same time I don't know if you read my reply stating that I didn't mean that at all :X

It seems so simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987006)

Why do they not think somebody will just make plugins called "Opt Out Of Everything" (OOoFE for short)?

Jab at Adobe? (2)

captaindomon (870655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987014)

Is this just another part of the battle with Adobe, who owns Omniture and competes with Google Analytics?

Ghostery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987026)

How does this compare to Ghostery?
http://www.ghostery.com/ [ghostery.com]

This already exists (1)

He who knows (1376995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987050)

and is called Ghostery. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ghostery/ [mozilla.org]

Re:This already exists (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987650)

This already exists in a better form: the "clear all cookies" option in Firefox (and similar options in other decent browsers).

If you dump *all* cookies every day, you aren't subject to whether or not the web programmer chooses to honor the html do-not-track tag or not.

Re:This already exists (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988110)

That isn't a reasonable solution. For one thing they're still able to track you within that day, and for another it can be challenging to figure out which cookie you've blocked is causing problems with the current page and why it's needed.

What we really need is something in place to require companies to have permission before they set a cookie, a statement about the use and a ban on them trying to cram it on the end user.

Pot meet kettle? (2)

wiresquire (457486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987080)

Does this plug-in/add-on also stop all tracking of Google properties?

Not just the google ads, but also all those other google sites like oh, I don't know, googleapis, youtube etc?

Just because they're not serving ads doesn't mean that they don't or can't track you.

Re:Pot meet kettle? (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987174)

Just because they're not serving ads doesn't mean that they don't or can't track you.

Likewise, just because they're not setting cookies doesn't mean that they don't or can't track you.

Re:Pot meet kettle? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988112)

Does this plug-in/add-on also stop all tracking of Google properties?

It doesn't really have anything to do with Google properties. Its about behavioral tracking that supports personalized advertising regardless of the provider (the new feature in this is that it isn't limited to Google -- Google has for years had a tool for all major browsers, not just Chrome, that did the same thing for Google ads tracking.)

Google? (2)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987082)

So, Google, a company that makes its money selling ad space, is distributing software to help block advertising? That seems either incredibly counter-intuitive, or incredibly cynical ("no one will use it except people who know how to do it anyway, so why not get some good press"). It'll be interesting to see which it really is, but I'm going to have to lean towards cynical on this one for the time being (call me cynical...).

Re:Google? (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987216)

That seems either incredibly counter-intuitive, or incredibly cynical ("no one will use it except people who know how to do it anyway, so why not get some good press").

Its not only good press and taking advantage of the fact that people are lazy and won't do it ... It also gives them an easy bit of legal help.

If they make a bunch of tools available to protect your privacy then you don't have nearly as much room to bitch about the tracking since you do have a way to limit the tracking.

Second, if no one uses the tools and someone starts trying to push legislation through to make tracking more legally difficult, google and other online advertisers can jump in and scream 'we gave them tools and no one used them, the people don't want this!' ... and it'll be REALLY hard to argue their point when they have proof that the general population doesn't care enough to use the tools.

I won't call you cynical, just realistic and wise.

Re:Google? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987554)

There is some tracking that can't be blocked, unless you use an anonymizer, proxy or something like that, like rough geographic location of the visitor based on IP address. And probably most of the interesting results come from that way.

Anyway, could be people that are interested in being tracked so getting ads targetting them. That was the bet of personalized ads in gmail, if you must have ads, better that have a chance of being interesting for you, and not be a waste of time, screen space and bandwidth.

Anyway, whats the alternative? That people install an ad blocker that won't display any ad, personalized or not? That would be worse for google than not tracking some maybe uninteresting visitor data.

Not at all. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988142)

So, Google, a company that makes its money selling ad space, is distributing software to help block advertising?

Nope, this software does not (and does not claim to) do anything to "block advertising".

It blocks behavioral tracking which supports personalizing advertising, which means that when using it, the ads you see will not be personalized based on tracking you, but you'll still get just as many ads, they'll just be generic rather than personalized based on behavior.

Google has provided a durable opt-out of this kind for years with their own advertising (which is supported on multiple browsers), this new tool extends that to include other advertisers that have adopted an industry-standard mechanism for supporting opt-outs.

Lesson to Advertisers: Don't be Evil! (3, Insightful)

MagikSlinger (259969) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987088)

You think your cookies and tracking are harmless, or even good, but as you can see, very powerful backlashes form which will hurt everyone because you abused your privelege, and cross-site cookies tracking is a privelege. I understand the need for advertising tracking to improve the value of the ad to the ad buyer and to me, the ad "consumer". But considering it's becoming a hodge-podge and used to make people very uncomfortable, there was an inevitible push back.

You lost the Javascript/flash wars because you allowed abusive banner ads. Sure, you got a quick hit for a year or two, but for how long until AdBlocker has become de rigeur for the heavy Internet browser? So by trying to be too flashy and too in your face, you lost all right to use Javascript/flash for your ads.

Now you are losing the cookie battle too.

Just try not to be evil and respect people's wishes. Is it really that hard? Really?

Re:Lesson to Advertisers: Don't be Evil! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987360)

Listen you mother fucker. We don't care what mother fuckers like you do. You don't click or buy anyway, and yes we know. If you don't like that we ENABLE you free access to most every place you go INCLUDING HERE then go shove a pile of steaming shit down your throat and chew on it a while.

Re:Lesson to Advertisers: Don't be Evil! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988002)

HAHAHAHA advertisers have always been slime, and this post backs it up! LOL

Re:Lesson to Advertisers: Don't be Evil! (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987818)

You talk as if there was a single advertiser. The situation seems more like a tragedy-of-the-commons [wikipedia.org] . Everyone might start out respecting it, but because the cost to an individual advertiser violating it is less than the benefit, one inevitably does this, and more follow.

Re:Lesson to Advertisers: Don't be Evil! (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989690)

You talk as if there was a single advertiser.

Its pretty close actually.

Have you looked at the numbers.

In 2009, in the US, Google had 72.1% of online ads. One company is almost three out four ads.
Yahoo, Microsoft, and Ask.com had another 17%, 5.5% and 3.7% respectively.

Adding all 4 up is 98.3% of online ads.

Re:Lesson to Advertisers: Don't be Evil! (1)

tukang (1209392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988892)

Instead of using adblockers, how about boycotting content that comes with annoying ads? Content owners are people, too, and you're not respecting their wishes when you block ads.

Re:Lesson to Advertisers: Don't be Evil! (1)

MagikSlinger (259969) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989444)

Instead of using adblockers, how about boycotting content that comes with annoying ads? Content owners are people, too, and you're not respecting their wishes when you block ads.

I don't use an ad blocker; just NoScript. But you also missed the point: people resort to these measures because web advertising has become abusive because they desperately want attention.

How often do you see people cutting out ads from a magazine or newspaper because they don't want to look at ads? Even though an Ad Blocker is a lot less work, it still takes some effort to find and install an AdBlocker. People seek them out because they don't want so Javascript ad screaming "HELLO!!?? HELLO!!!??" or opening 5-10 pop behinds.

Understand: people are avoiding ads because they are resorting to abusive measures to get attention.

Boycotting the content: that would be "nice" of the users instead of just blocking the ads. But then again, it would also be "nice" if the advertisers didn't sell my personal info like cigarettes in a prison.

Of course Google wants this (5, Interesting)

barchibald (207846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987138)

If I were google, I'd be pretty psyched to be the only ad provider who can triangulate from search to ad delivery. Thats a real coup in terms of unique analytics for them. Between every page that has their ads on it, every site that uses their site analytics and every request that has google.com as the launch point (and access to http-referer information across all of these....it'd be hard to imagine an analytics company coming close to competing.

There are many more desserts than just cookies.

Re:Of course Google wants this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988848)

Some sort of joke about cakes and lies belongs here, but I can't think of one...

What If... (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987294)

What if they didn't need cookies anymore? I'm sure if enough people with an agenda to get rich(er) got together they could track anyone and everyone...given enough resources and 'affiliates'. I never logged no-script blocks, but doesn't seem too implausible to get a small number of ad providers together to cooperate for massive data gathering gain.

I don't know. All I do know is when Mega-Corps bring me flowers and tell me they're my buddy, I tend to look around to see what's in the other hand.

But Google Themselves use tracking cookies?!? (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987300)

So, a company that became huge and rich from advertising and trying to "judge" us based on our clicks is now acting like They [google.com] don't do it? Unless you are actually told about stuff like this [google.com] then it is safe to say that Google is no better. I mean, come on, look at all the tracking cookies and stuff it uses, and you have to search for a way to disable them, and how many people will do that? That is like me being a bank robber, and then telling others to not rob banks and also tell some banks that ONLY if they talk to me ahead of time, I will not rob from them.

I tell you what Google, how about you stop using them yourself before you act like you are a huge activist behind getting rid of them.

Re:But Google Themselves use tracking cookies?!? (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987528)

So, a company that became huge and rich from advertising and trying to "judge" us based on our clicks is now acting like They [google.com] don't do it? Unless you are actually told about stuff like this [google.com] then it is safe to say that Google is no better. I mean, come on, look at all the tracking cookies and stuff it uses, and you have to search for a way to disable them, and how many people will do that? That is like me being a bank robber, and then telling others to not rob banks and also tell some banks that ONLY if they talk to me ahead of time, I will not rob from them.

I tell you what Google, how about you stop using them yourself before you act like you are a huge activist behind getting rid of them.

Google isn't saying that cookies are bad. They are saying some people don't like or want them, and providing a tool to block them if desired. There's no holier-than-thou going on here.

In a word: choice (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987762)

So, a company that became huge and rich from advertising and trying to "judge" us based on our clicks is now acting like they don't do it?

No, they aren't. As noted in the blog post announcing the "Keep My Opt Outs" extensions, Google, two years ago, "made available, for all major browsers, a downloadable browser plugin that enables you to permanently opt out of Google’s advertising cookie, even if you deleted all your browser’s cookies."

They aren't pretending they don't do anything. They are quite open that they do it by default, they provided a cookie-based mechanism to opt-out of it, and they later provided a mechanism for durably opting-out of it.

"Keep My Opt-Outs" is an extension that provides durable opt-out by default functionality for all advertising/tracking systems that support similar opt-out mechanisms.

That is like me being a bank robber, and then telling others to not rob banks and also tell some banks that ONLY if they talk to me ahead of time, I will not rob from them.

If you assume that the use of tracking cookies is equivalent to robbery, which I think is, at best, a non-obvious position for which some argument should be presented.

I tell you what Google, how about you stop using them yourself before you act like you are a huge activist behind getting rid of them.

But Google isn't pretending to be an activist behind getting rid of them. Google, who has for some time provided a tool to durably opt-out of Google's tracking system, is now providing a tool to durably opt-out of an expanding set of third-party tracking systems as well. Its about supporting user choice in whether or not to participate in tracking, not about getting rid of tracking.

Opt out of what exactly? (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987342)

I am not convinced that "opting out of behavioral advertising" is the same as "do not track". The page describing the opt-out initiative [aboutads.info] contains the following sentence:

In some cases, automated systems will continue to collect other data about browser visits but that data will no longer be used to deliver interest-based advertising to the user.

This suggests that tracking might still happen, but the ads served will not be based on the collected information if you opt out. That does not sound like much of an improvement in online privacy.

FCC != FTC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987570)

It may not be obvious to the slashdot editors, but the FTC is the Federal Trade Commission (mainly protecting consumers), not the Federal Communications Commission, which is mainly about regulating scarce communications resources (such as airwaves). The FCC better keep its nose out of my browser (and my choice of net providers and what they can do/can't do for me, I'll just sue my provider if they suck) but I welcome the RECOMMENDATION from the FTC. (yeah. you can see the editor didn't actually RTFA.)

Major Disruption? (1)

joshuao3 (776721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987632)

Is this going to affect sites that use a cookie to maintain session state? If so, let me be the first to say: No. Thank. You. I cannot afford to reengineer all my sites.

Major Disruption? Not at all. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988230)

Is this going to affect sites that use a cookie to maintain session state?

No. For more info, see the page for the extension [google.com] .

Ok. Im adding myself to Mozilla's push too (1, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987706)

With me, that makes 3. a strong push for privacy. add yourselves too, so that it will make 4, 5, and n.

this post, may or may not contain sarcasm. i may or may not be giving 2 cents to anyone that may prove that way, or otherwise. if the world is in the eye of a fish, then it means we have a problem. now beat it. there is nothing to see here - all mj impressions are done, all britney spears songs are sung, all ships are sunk, all your bases are owned, we shall never flag or flail. we shall fight on the routers, we shall fight on the switches, we shall fight on the hubs, we shall never surrender ! and then, they will say, this, was internet's finest hour !!!

whaa..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34987872)

Who are they kidding? 99% of who is tracking us is Google. Why would they encourage a do not track feature unless they fully intend to ignore it.

Privoxy helps out here (1)

simplypeachy (706253) | more than 3 years ago | (#34987900)

I seem to be on a bit of a Privoxy [privoxy.org] obsession of late. It comes and goes like a biorhythm. Privoxy goes a long way to help prevent tracking...like tracking by Google, youtube, blogspot, ytimg...oh wait, they're all one and the same.

Cookies are old,Locatoin based services, static IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34988034)

Between static IPs, google adsense / analytics on every (almost) web page out there, google account (or other single signon)
  there is no need for any cookie tracking. Even "private browsing" implemented is pretty useless in fighting tracking.
There is tons of money in location based services and cookies are past.

Lovely, now add "no signature" mode (1)

saikou (211301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988070)

Having a flag in the header is nice. But the real question is, would Firefox (and Chrome) add "no signature/generic signature" mode, where headers sent out to the server get synchronized to the lowest common denominator for a large set of users?
You know, so that browser can't be sufficiently identified by the headers alone. And http://panopticlick.eff.org would say "Browser plugin details: one in 2", and "User Agent" one in, say, 10. Plus the heck with system fonts.

Re:Lovely, now add "no signature" mode (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988350)

But the real question is, would Firefox (and Chrome) add "no signature/generic signature" mode, where headers sent out to the server get synchronized to the lowest common denominator for a large set of users?

How would you determine what is a login cookie for authentication to a website veres an advertising tracking cookie? They can look identical and even have the exact same field names.

Wait a sec... (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 3 years ago | (#34988852)

Don't Ghostery/Beef Taco for Firefox do the same thing? Or did I misread something?

Wait a sec... (1)

Red_Chaos1 (95148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34989044)

...maybe I'm just ignorant on this but doesn't NoScript do this already by blocking the sites period? (if you choose)

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