Google is watching you. But, in light of pending privacy legislation by the White House, Google is now voluntarily working on a Do Not Track registry, allowing consumers to opt out of having their search history recorded.
The pending legislation, the Commercial Privacy Rights Act, does not specifically call for a Do Not Track provision, but Google is moving ahead in offering the option to consumers.
The Do Not Track list would be similar to the phone company’s Do Not Call option, which allows telephone users to avoid receiving telemarketing calls.
Do Not Track would allow Google users to avoid receiving those annoying pop-ups and other ads that seem to just appear out of nowhere and are annoyingly intuitive, according to a recent article on ComputerWorld.com.
Your browser tracks your browsing history by leaving small text files or “cookies on your computer and sends you targeted ads based on that information.
If your browser supports the Do Not Track feature, you can tell the software that you do not want to be tracked.
“In Mozilla’s Firefox, for instance, that’s done through the Options (on Windows) or Preferences (Mac) pane by checking a box marked, “Tell web sites I do not want to be tracked.”” instructs ComputerWorld.com writer, Gregg Keizer.
Do Not Track is a good thing according to Jonathan Mayer, a Stanford University researcher who is credited on the site as coming up with standards for the feature. “This is a great step forward. For some time, Google has been the last holdout among the major browsers,” he told ComputerWorld.com.
Other browser that support Do Not Track are: Safari (Apple), Internet Explorer version 9, and Firefox.
Using Do Not Track may not mean that you will have total protection from inquiring web minds, however, as detailed in a recent Consumer Reports.org article that list two ways in which your browsing history can still be accessed. If you are logged into your Gmail account while surfing the Internet, you can still be tracked, the article says. And, if you are logged into Facebook and allow sites to access your information, Facebook will make a note of this activity, resulting in more targeted ads coming your way.
“You can prevent these forms of tracking by not signing into your Google account whenever you use Google’s search engine and by not enabling connections between your Facebook account and external Web sites,” according to ConsumerReports.org.