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Google adds support for do-not-track in latest version of Chrome

Google Chrome will soon provide users with the option to use the do-not-track setting when browsing the Web, effectively allowing them to opt out of many website ad targeting systems.

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The change was first reported by AllThingsD, which noted that Google had agreed to support the standard in February. Chrome will be the last of the major browsers to implement do-not-track, which isn't a surprise, given Google's dependence on online advertising for the vast majority of its revenue, according to AllThingsD.

When active, do-not-track sends a request to websites not to collect information about the browser for tracking or advertising purposes. It's meant to work, ideally, as a simple button users can click to ensure a modicum of privacy.

However, online advertisers and privacy advocates alike have raised issues with do-not-track. The former group fears that the standard could badly disrupt the sophisticated ecosystem of ad targeting and delivery and threaten revenues, while the latter warns that the voluntary nature of compliance with do-not-track means there are few guarantees that websites will pay attention to the requests.

Indeed, Microsoft's recent decision to not only implement do-not-track in Internet Explorer 10 but enable it by default has caused significant controversy. Apache recently announced that its server software would ignore do-not-track requests from IE10, since Microsoft's use of do-not-track as a default setting undercuts the voluntary nature of the standard.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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