User-tracking company Google will make browser changes to reduce user tracking

Their user-agent replacement seems a bit funky. I don’t suppose that they’ll be submitting these changes to a standards committee as an RFC proposal now that they’ve mainly won the Browser Wars?

Since Google’s business is all about user tracking, beware of gifts bearing Googles!

1 Like

For me it feels like they realized that this extra tracking don’t really matter for the ads, and they might even be detrimental.

Another (more selfish) theory is that with the current pace more and more users are starting to use ad-blockers and all revenue is lost even if they can still track those users, the most a site can do is to refuse to show its content for those not willing to be abused by ads (which is not good in the long term).
With those less invasive ads they might be able to stop the adoption of ad-blockers and the amount of users that don’t give a monetary return for them.
Considering the trends in torrenting, they might be able to even de-convert some ad-block users.

You can currently block cookies in Chrome via the prefs.

This is Google hamstringing competition while also probably gonna create a subscription payment method combined with an API for companies to pay to put cookies on chrome.

On the one hand, these are eminently reasonable proposals. Safari has blocked 3rd party cookies by default for at least a decade at this point, and their new ML-driven tracker protection carries that even further. Firefox has also moved to block most 3rd party cookies that are used by marketing tracker services. While there’s some limited utility in the availability of 3rd party cookies, at this point it’s such a minefield that most legitimate services (like cross-site-login for commenting platforms such as Disqus) have figured out work-arounds that don’t directly rely on them. And UA strings are utterly useless at this point, because web developers have routinely failed to update their code to accommodate newcomers and incremental improvements in different browser engines, so every browser is just pretending to be every other browser now, in some absurd “TF2 spies all the way down” game of deception just so users don’t get locked out of having JavaScript run or risk some other arcane toggle go off that sets their UX back 15 years.

On the other hand, this is Google we’re talking about, and while I’m sure the Chrome team is sincere about their intentions to improve user privacy and security, their parent company is one of the biggest reasons these privacy pushes exist in the first place, so I’m taking it all with a grain of salt at the moment. As with their changes to the APIs used by ad blockers, they’re founded in a desire to improve security, privacy, and performance, but the knock-on effects will need to be monitored to ensure that they don’t disproportionately accrue back to Google itself.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.