With Google having a major stake in advertising industry where billions of dollars at stake through its Google AdWords and Google AdSense programs, it’s understandably that Google takes a different approach on its increasingly popular Chrome web browser when dealing with privacy especially on behavioral tracking for ads serving.
Unlike Firefox and IE9 (see how to enable Do Not Track in IE9), Google Chrome does not implement the Do Not Track, a universal web tracking opt-out technology which allows users to opt-out of all web tracking in single persistent configuration, although not all third-party content providers such as advertising networks and web analytic services obeys the “Not Not Track” instruction sent via HTTP header as the protocol is currently voluntary in nature, and most usually is ignored by rogue ads networks or web trackers even when Do Not Track is enforced by law in future.
It also do not have mechanism such as Tracking Protection in IE9 which may blocks and restricts loading of third-party contents including ads onto the web pages.
However, Google Chrome does have another approach on protecting privacy of Chrome users, by making the opt-out from web tracking permanently. Most web trackers including ads networks have option that allows users to opt-out of being tracked or opt-out of receiving advertising, especially pop-ups. However, unlike Do Not Track which set once, to opt-out, user will need to visit each and every opt out or privacy websites of which user knew of, and set a opt-out cookie on each and every web browsers on each and every computers he or she is using. And the opt-out cookies must not be deleted for the opt-out to continue taking effect.
The opt-out cookies planted by web trackers or ads network agents can be easily lost and deleted, such as when users delete and remove browsing history data, or after the cookies expire.
The approach taken by Google Chrome is specifically targeted to preserve such opt-out anti-tracking cookies that are been saved on the Chrome web browser, permanently and persistently, even after the Chrome is closed and restarted, or after user deletes all the browsing data.
For the purpose, Google provides a extension named Keep My Opt-Outs. Keep My Opt-Outs is an extension that provides one-step, persistent opt-out of personalized behavioral targeting advertising and related data tracking performed by companies adopting the industry privacy standards for online advertising.
Currently, Keep My Opt-Outs supports opt-outs of 146 organizations and companies. The list is growing as more companies adopt the industry privacy standards, and users will need to update the extension whenever new opt-outs support is added.
Keep My Opt-Outs is available for free download and install from Chrome Web Store.
Once installed, visit http://www.aboutads.info/choices/ to confirm the existing opt-outs or view current trackers which track your behavior profile, which also provides options to submit and set opt-out preference for any companies that still haven’t been opt-out of personalized interest-based advertising in the browser.
Do note that Keep My Opt-Outs does not block any ads from displaying. It merely blocks and prevents any tracking cookies from been used to collect your online activities and interests. Thus, once you install Keep My Opt-Outs, your experience of online ads may change where repetitive same ads or less relevant ads may be shown. In addition, some companies will not collect tracking information with opt-out active (equivalent to “Do Not Track”), but some other companies may continue to collect tracking information, but will not use it to select advertising (not equivalent to “Do Not Track”).
In fact, Keep My Opt-Outs is said to be more effective than the Do Not Track header, because all ads networks and web trackers which allow anti-tracking opt-out cookie to be set will obey and adhere to the user’s preference, and stop tracking user’s activities.
If you feel that “Keep My Opt-Outs” supports too few persistent opt-out cookies,
Keep MORE Opt Outs by PrivacyChoice can retain permanently opt-out cookies of more than 356 web trackers, while Chromeblock from Albine promises more controls and information over tracking on each sites.
For ads haters or people who wants to block ads and stop web browsers from communicating with third-party content providers, AdBlock or AdBlock Plus is available also from the Chrome Web Store as an alternative to retaining out-out cookies method.