Archive for September 10, 2023

Google Is Now Tracking Your Every Move Online To Make Money

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 10, 2023 by itnerd

Earlier this week, I posted this story about Google’s new Privacy Sandbox feature. But there’a dark side to this announcement that ARS Technica is highlighting:

Don’t let Chrome’s big redesign distract you from the fact that Chrome’s invasive new ad platform, ridiculously branded the “Privacy Sandbox,” is also getting a widespread rollout in Chrome today. If you haven’t been following this, this feature will track the web pages you visit and generate a list of advertising topics that it will share with web pages whenever they ask, and it’s built directly into the Chrome browser. It’s been in the news previously as “FLoC” and then the “Topics API,” and despite widespread opposition from just about every non-advertiser in the world, Google owns Chrome and is one of the world’s biggest advertising companies, so this is being railroaded into the production builds.

Google seemingly knows this won’t be popular. Unlike the glitzy front-page Google blog post that the redesign got, the big ad platform launch announcement is tucked away on the page. The blog post says the ad platform is hitting “general availability” today, meaning it has rolled out to most Chrome users. This has been a long time coming, with the APIs rolling out about a month ago and a million incremental steps in the beta and dev builds, but now the deed is finally done.

Well, I don’t use Google Chrome as my main web browser. But this is a few steps too far. And not only won’t I be using Chrome on any of my computers, but I will encourage others not to use Chrome as well. The other thing that this does is make my trust level with Google as a company drop to zero.

If you’re looking for alternatives, Firefox and Safari on the Mac would be my choices. Neither of those browsers have shown blatant disregard for their user base that Google Chrome has.