Google may not have the best track record when it comes to privacy issues. But it seems they are trying to fix that with today's announcement. Today they announced the release of a Chrome extension to provide a centralized way for users to opt-out of various tracking cookies one might pick up when browsing the Internet.
The extension, called "Keep my opt-outs" as explained by Google, takes advantage of the self-regulation efforts of the online advertising market to let users permanently opt out tracking cookies from companies that participate in certain industry programs such as Network Advertising Initiative.
Google also said that it sees its solution as walking the thin line between privacy and keeping the ad-supported web afloat Sean Harvey and Rajas Moonka both Product Managers on the Chrome team at Google commented, saying "This new feature gives you significant control without compromising the revenue that fuels the Web content that we all consume every day". One privacy expert has dubbed Google's effort a "marginal improvement", but otherwise said some attempt was better than no attempt.
Google isn't stopping with Chrome, saying that they will be porting this extension to other browsers in the future. They also are releasing the code for the Chrome version so that it can be examined for flaws and possibly replicated by third parties for other browsers. This announcement follows another one made on Sunday by Mozilla saying they were taking a different approach using a Do-Not-Track HTTP header. Both have followed Microsoft's IE9 which is expected to have another form of protection against tracking, in the coming RC build that is reported to be coming on Friday.
For Chrome users the extension is available today in the Chrome Web Store here.