What is Google's new ad privacy feature?

Google Chrome users will be getting a popup asking them to turn on a new privacy feature after their browser updates. This is Google’s new user-tracking built directly into the browser whereas the privacy conversation up to this point has been user-tracking on websites.

Users should see a pop-up when they start up Chrome soon, informing them that an “ad privacy” feature has been rolled out to them and enabled. … documentation about this feature feels like it was written on opposite day, with Google calling the browser-based advertising platform “a significant step on the path towards a fundamentally more private web.”


Thanks for reminding me to add another Ars feed to my feed reader, Mike! I was only subscribed to Biz & IT.

Sometimes I forget corporate doublespeak is a thing until I read stuff like this.

I’ve been listening to Cory Doctorow’s new book, The Internet Con, and one of the revelations for me was that Google, Facebook (and Amazon, of course) don’t treat users poorly because they’re not their customers; they treat everyone poorly because they can get away with it. They screw over advertisers just as much, if not more, with just as much regularity.

Advertising directly in the browser will bring Chrome in line with Brave. I can’t say that’s a feature I would like in my browser.

I can’t disagree with this:

this is Google, and they control Chrome, and this probably still won’t make people switch to Firefox.

Vivaldi seems like a good option for people not overly concerned about software freedom. There are too many parts of Firefox I like to consider using another browser, except to use some webapps that only work on the Blink engine. I use Chromium for those webapps at the moment…maybe I’ll switch to Vivaldi in the future.

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No problem. Though, even I miss out on some news. :slightly_smiling_face:

I agree with the sentiment.

But, I think it is important to avoid stereotypes. It is too easy to start saying ‘they’ (YouTube) and forget all the nuance that goes into that oversimplification. Instead, I think people should focus on pitching in. For example, my other recent thread about Babcock Ranch demonstrates that companies can solve problems with the current set of rules.

I’ll add that Richard Wolff said (YouTube) that democracy in the workplace is what is missing from society. Even I have to admit that, outside of Europe, it would take a big change in work culture to integrate democracy into a company. But, the idea of having a say at work and making the world a better place is appealing.

I recognize that Vivaldi is closed source. And, I agree that there are browsers which score better at PrivacyTests.org than Vivaldi. But, my personal approach has been to choose web browsers which are convenient. Further, I assume anything I do on a computer is public information and behave accordingly; just look at the recent Microsoft hack or look back on Enron. I feel like this approach takes the stress out of getting perfect privacy. And, I put less trust in software or organizations because those will fail.

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This got added to my list the minute I saw it was out. Glad to hear he kind of continues down the enshitiffication line, I’m guessing there’s going to be more to it than that right? Might even bring it to the front of the queue for an upcoming holiday.

Musk Filters

Can’t argue with that :slight_smile:

It is too easy to start saying ‘they’ (YouTube) and forget all the nuance that goes into that oversimplification.

While I appreciate the idea here, I don’t think I’ll be able to surrender my personal vendetta against Amazon any time soon. I only bring up Facebook and Amazon due to personal experiences I’ve had being on the advertising side of the fence—they are not your friends. If anything, they’re far more aggressive toward (smaller) advertisers than they are their users, who they are mostly indifferent about. Amazon is the only company that’s managed to screw me on both sides of the fence, but that’s a story for another time…

I’ll add that Richard Wolff said (YouTube) that democracy in the workplace is what is missing from society.

It’s an interesting idea but I’m not quite sure where you’re going with this. Are you saying Google, for example, would be better if corporate decisions were based on democracy? If so, I can see the pros and cons of that. Alphabet is a huge conglomerate and the guys at the top can’t see everything that’s going on, so it would be handy there. But at the same time, there are things you miss when you’re on the ground.

In this vein, Codeweavers underwent a transition to an employee-owned model recently. I don’t know how that’s going to work out for them, but it’s interesting and I wish them the best!


So, I tried it out again and I just can’t get along with Vivaldi! There’s so much stuff! I mean, sure, there’s handy features like RSS feed detection I wish Firefox had built-in, and tab tiling is cool when you need it, and of course I’m using vertical tabs, and it’s very nice to know the page weight and load times, and I really like that it has a search bar + URL bar by default (the only Chromium browser that makes using multiple search engines easy, actually), but damn the interface is busy.

I think Orion achieves more of what I want (web development tools) while remaining simple. It’s too buggy though. And macOS-only.

I’m the kinda guy who runs Firefox with a GNOME userChrome to simplify things even more. As much as I hate to admit it, Chrome’s user interface did a lot to improve browser design overall. I wish Firefox wouldn’t follow them everywhere, but alas.

Don’t get me wrong, the fact that Vivaldi isn’t released under a free license is part of the reason I’ve shied away from it, but it being overwhelming is the bigger part. When I’m using a Chromium browser, I generally just want things to work. I’m not overly concerned about privacy or software freedom. There are still things I really like about the browser though; namely, the search bar. I dunno, maybe I’ll find myself gravitating back toward it.

my personal approach has been to choose web browsers which are convenient

This is the main reason I stick with Firefox. It’s not for any pithy philosophical reason; it’s just the only browser that satisfies my odd needs and wants. I’ve tried to move to Brave or Chromium but they’re just far more annoying and slower to use. I’m guessing this is an unpopular opinion because I hear a lot of people have this problem with Firefox. The only trouble I face is with a few webapps, which I switch to Chromium for.

I spend most of my working life in my browser, so I try to make it comfortable!

Further, I assume anything I do on a computer is public information and behave accordingly […] And, I put less trust in software or organizations because those will fail.

This is also my modus operandi, although on a rare occasion I’m using TOR Browser. I actually have Firefox, Brave, Chromium, Vivaldi, and TOR Browser installed on my computer right now, haha… I guess I’m not as loyal as I say I am.

Obviously I’m going full Ladybird once that’s a thing :slight_smile: .

I still don’t know whether to describe the recent Microsoft hack as one big hack that just won’t end, or a series of smaller hacks.

Your approach makes sense! As you can tell, I don’t really have much of an approach, but that’s what I’ve landed on, haha.

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It’s a pretty thin book and to be honest, I think it’s over-priced. That’s not to say I didn’t get value out of it. I really enjoyed the historical stuff Cory has weaved into the book. He starts off talking about Gopher, moves through compulsory licensing as he discusses music copyright, and spends a lot of time talking about standards.

I’m certain I don’t represent the average person, but I found the discussion on standards absolutely riveting. There’s so much that goes into it. I definitely found the historical stuff most interesting. I thought I knew a fair bit about computing history, but I learned a lot! There’s some shocking stuff in there.

There’s quite a bit of discussion on anti-trust and I found the way Cory approached it really refreshing.

He talks about right-to-repair too, and the specific scenarios he talks about are familiar enough that I felt like he had to have been in contact with Louis Rossmann at some point, except I’m pretty sure these two have never met.

It was a 6-hour listen and I got through it in two days. I don’t do 1-10 rating scales anymore, but I like Unauthorized Bread more. I also bought Little Brother directly after and am really liking that. That is a real bang-for-your-buck book.

I’m kind of mixed on The Internet Con! To be honest, I mostly bought it because Unauthorized Bread spoke to me in a way few novels have despite not being that interested in the blurb for The Internet Con, but I found myself pleasantly surprised. There’s definitely some great stuff in there. I found myself nodding along and having my mind changed a few times. And I don’t think it should cost that much.

That being said, I did buy the audiobook, not the ebook. I think the ebook is reasonably-priced. And I think I’m not the target audience, because I use a lot of alternative platforms without caring much about interoperability, although the discussion on Section 1201 of the DMCA definitely resonated with me (and there’s no way I’m alone on that).

Umm…sorry, for letting my brain leak onto the keyboard for a few minutes. Bottom line, I think it’s worthwhile! But it’s not my favorite Cory Doctorow book.

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Just a sidetrack on the topic, but here’s some nuance to privacytests.org which Jon Von Tetzner (CEO of Vivaldi) points out in an interview with Techlore (YouTube)

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those privacy tests, besides often being partly/wholly meaningless, go right out the window as soon as one changes settings - for ex., compare Firefox and LibreWolf on privacytests.org, the latter of which is Firefox with a lot of tweaks, all (or the vast majority) of which can be done with vanilla Firefox

not knocking LW at all - matter of fact, if one values their privacy and wants to avoid the work, LW may be the best route - certainly one will probably want to avoid chromium or any of its derivatives

the take-a-way is, people ought not to give a lot of weight to a many of these browser “privacy test” sites because they often don’t do proper, real-world testing

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Google’s latest tracking rebrand, “Privacy Sandbox”, will begin rolling out in January.

Google’s blog post calls the rollout “Tracking Protection” and says the first tests will begin on January 4, where 1 percent of Chrome users will get the feature.

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the great part here is the quantity of comments on that piece that this has either sparked a change, or that readers haven’t been using chrome for a while.

Unfortunately a self-selecting sample of people interested in technology and this particular story; how that plays out in a wider sense, and with people who just sit with defaults or don’t really care is the interesting thing.

I’ve been thinking of how to frame this for those people, not settled on my pitch, maybe I should just help a lot of pals do this in a more involved sit-at-the-computer-with-them way. Not a bad use of my time :smile:

Among my friends, we just started handing out Vivaldi links. Millennials can use Vivaldi as a drop-in replacement for Chrome. All the gen x and baby boomers I know use Apple.

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