Google rumored to replace cookies with anonymous identifier for ad tracking

A future version of Chrome may do away with third party cookies.

Google may be planning to finally ditch the dreaded cookies that are a part of most web browsers in favor of a new method to track the activities of Internet users. USAToday reports, via unnamed sources, that the proposed replacement for cookies would be an anonymous identifier, or AdID.

The article claims that AdID would be set up in web browsers, such as Google's own Chrome, so that users would be able to limit the amount of data that are sent to online advertisers from the settings menu. The article also says that people could even set up a second AdID for their browser to keep certain web surfing sessions particularly private.

The AdID feature would be used by online ad companies to target specific ads to browser users but they would also have to adhere to certain rules about how to use those identifers. The article adds that Google will let advertising groups, along with consumer organizations and government officials, take a look at its proposal before it is launched.

Google has yet to make this AdID idea public. In a statement to USAToday, a company spokesperson said only that they have a number of ideas in this area but that they are "... all at very early stages." However, some ad company representatives seem to think that such a system would put too much power in the hands of Google. Mike Zaneis, the general counsel for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said, "They could deprecate the use of that ID on a whim, basically, and severely undermine billions of dollars in digital ad spending."

Source: USAToday | Image via Google

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35 Comments

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We already know that deleting cookies does absolutely nothing to protect one's privacy. Any plan to "replace" cookies will have the same results.

Neowin Users: I hate Google
-: Use Bing?
Neowin Users: Nah I'd rather use Google Search
-: Use Outlook?
Neowin Users: Nah I'd rather use Gmail
Neowin Users: Google is an evil company but I will visit Youtube and support their cause even though I know they dont give a **** about my privacy.

Rest of the world: What's Bing?

onionjuice said,
Neowin Users: I hate Google
-: Use Bing?
Neowin Users: Nah I'd rather use Google Search
-: Use Outlook?
Neowin Users: Nah I'd rather use Gmail
Neowin Users: Google is an evil company but I will visit Youtube and support their cause even though I know they dont give a **** about my privacy.

Rest of the world: What's Bing?

Lol you missed the best one today, "Google reveals Calico, its new effort to help extend human life."
Cancer: Why so we get can get more ads! Scroogled!

What happened to this place.

So they're replacing an unreliable tracking method that I can delete at will to one that is tied to the browser and will allow them to track everything and be harder for me to block. Gimme now!!

theyarecomingforyou said,
Firefox is funded by Google, so I don't really see what you're hoping to achieve.

Primarily funded by (for default search), not owned or controlled by.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Firefox is funded by Google, so I don't really see what you're hoping to achieve.

Firefox is free and could be funded by anyone. at least I am sure google doesn't steal my browsing data to collect information to make more $$$$

trojan_market said,
Its time to switch back to Firefox, I am done with google.

Yah Google REQUIRES you to sign into Chrome right.

Google ought to learn a lesson from the Windows 8 Store (Metro). It doesn't require you to sign in in order to download and sync their apps. /s

Ha ha I love how you keep pointing out that Google aren't the only ones violating your privacy. I find it funny with both the Apple and Microsoft groups, bad when Google does it, good when their favourite company does it.

recursive said,
Ha ha I love how you keep pointing out that Google aren't the only ones violating your privacy. I find it funny with both the Apple and Microsoft groups, bad when Google does it, good when their favourite company does it.

That's actually part of the problem to be honest. Trying to get away from companies like Google only to realize the competition isn't any better, and their grasps are ever-reaching... makes it hard to move away from their grasp.

I'm on the verge of tightening up my accounts, locking them down, and so forth. I was very open to the idea of having everything linked, synced, and all... but I'm starting to regret that decision as companies like Google get slapped with fines for their continual abuse of privacy.

onionjuice said,

Yah Google REQUIRES you to sign into Chrome right.

Google ought to learn a lesson from the Windows 8 Store (Metro). It doesn't require you to sign in in order to download and sync their apps. /s

Stopped reading after requires

"they would also have to adhere to certain rules about how to use those identifers"

Why would they have to do that? If it's under Google's control, no ad company will use it.

The AdID feature would be used by online ad companies to target specific ads to browser users but they would also have to adhere to certain rules about how to use those identifers. Online advertisers and Google have become widely known for their secure and ethical use of personal data.

I may have added that last part.

That's why some use/have used supercookies:

http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/node/6715

While a unique ID is not all that cool for privacy, ad companies can already fingerprint your browser through other means without using cookies. This would just make it easier/standard but doesn't actually make things that much worse.

So advertisers can link cookies to AdID's for an even more complex view of who browses for what, and on what computer (and therefore who knows who). What a wonderful idea.

The article claims that AdID would be set up in web browsers, such as Google's own Chrome, so that users would be able to limit the amount of data that are sent to online advertisers from the settings menu.

From everything to almost everything?

COKid said,
If Google is handling this, we can all rest assured that our privacy will be protected.

/s


oh yea and because you're sucking google's *** and fail to understad google is really using your information to make money, that's what they do in business. They are advertising company who dubbed themselves as tech company in order to make more and more money

trojan_market said,

oh yea and because you're sucking google's *** and fail to understad google is really using your information to make money, that's what they do in business. They are advertising company who dubbed themselves as tech company in order to make more and more money

wow

COKid said,
If Google is handling this, we can all rest assured that our privacy will be protected.

/s

Giving our web browsers unique identifiers is the only way to prevent the government from tracking our actions... oh... wait...

According to the article our web browser can have up to TWO serial numbers to improve our privacy! Wow.

trojan_market said,

oh yea and because you're sucking google's *** and fail to understad google is really using your information to make money, that's what they do in business. They are advertising company who dubbed themselves as tech company in order to make more and more money

Yup Google is definitely not a tech company. Google Search, Youtube, Gmail, Android are simply their grand plan to market our personal lives and provide NO use for the consumer. These services they have are practically useless for us they are just proxy platforms for them to sell us Ads.

Other companies such as Microsoft and Apple and many more don't give out user information to their advertisers, heck Google is the only one that lets their employees read your emails and ridicule our personal lives.

/s

Displaying ads that users find relevant contributes to the success of the entire ecosystem. Starting later this month, Microsoft Advertising will make a unique device ID available to third-party networks on the Windows Phone platform, an ID that's not linked to the user or to any personally identifiable information. The ID helps ensure that the ads a user sees are relevant. Customers can, as always, opt out of targeted advertising on Windows Phone via choice.microsoft.com. If they do, Microsoft Advertising will not serve targeted ads, and the device ID will not be shared with third-party ad networks.

http://blogs.windows.com/windo...and-dev-center-updates.aspx

You can opt out of interest-based ads by Google through Ads Settings. When you opt out, you'll still see ads but they may not be related to factors such as your interests or demographic details.

https://support.google.com/ads/answer/2662922?hl=en

Oh would you believe the hate from a Microsoft based fanboy website. It's like going to MacRumors and posting Windows sucks. 1000 upvotes for you!

Edited by onionjuice, Sep 18 2013, 6:36pm :

COKid said,
If Google is handling this, we can all rest assured that our privacy will be protected.

/s

Not sure how anyone else handling the unique AdID would make it any better.

I never said others don't do ****. I am just saying google primarily built making money on selling ads, whereas apple was to sell computers and Microsoft to sell software.
I admit that I am a fanboy, but be fair. Microsoft R&D budget is 10 Billion Dollor 5 times more than 1.8 Billion dollor that google spend. Microsoft has robotic studio. I am pretty sure you understand what I mean by this? the only problem microsoft has is that People think google is cool and microsoft is not because google and others spend lots and lots of money on lobbying and trashing ms products. look what google is doing to ms products now. there is not a single google app on MS store, Windows Phone Store. everybody knows that WP is amazing and deserve a chance to compete with others.