Google has launched a new extension for its Chrome browser, called Keep My Opt-Outs. It is essentially a Do Not Track mechanism that lets users opt out from receiving personalized advertisements as they browse the web.
"Recently, the Federal Trade Commission and others have expressed interest in a 'Do Not Track' mechanism that could offer users a simple way to opt out of personalized advertising," write Google product managers Sean Harvey and Rajas Moonka on the company's Public Policy blog. "Advertising companies that are members of the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) already let you opt out of tracking for the purposes of personalizing advertisements, and many online advertisers and trade associations have also joined a major self-regulatory effort to enforce a uniform privacy icon for ads, as well as opt-out guidelines."
50 companies including the top 15 ad networks offer opt outs in the U.S.
The timing of the announcement is interesting, considering Mozilla just announced a proposal for a Do Not Track mechanism for Firefox, with the intention of having it adopted as an industry standard throughout the tech and advertising industries.
"We've been working on addressing these issues for awhile," write Harvey and Moonka. "Nearly two years ago, we engineered a solution for Google's ad system. We 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. We've also built granular cookie controls into Chrome directly, and integrated Adobe Flash Player storage management into these controls. We’ve also modified Chrome’s incognito mode to ensure that it applies to 'Flash cookies' in addition to regular cookies."
If you use Chrome, you can get the add-on here, but Google warns that using it will mean you are likely to get ads that are less relevant to you.
Google is open sourcing the extension, and is working to make it available for other browsers.