back to article Google Chrome pushes ahead with targeted ads based on your browser history

Google has been gradually rolling out Chrome's "Enhanced Ad Privacy." That's the technology that, unless switched off, allows websites to target the user with adverts tuned to their online activities and interests based on their browser histories. A popup announcing this functionality has been appearing for some folks since …

  1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Big Brother

    That explains it

    Specifically, it explains why I've been getting advertisements for quicklime, used carpets, and gasoline.

    More seriously, I got this pop-up on my phone recently, smelled a rat, and went in and disabled all the privacy violating settings. Not that I typically use Chrome, mind you, but better safe than sorry.

  2. ChoHag Silver badge

    > YMMV, based on where you are

    Were, surely?

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      "YMMV, based on were you are"? Doesn't make sense

      1. b0llchit Silver badge

        Never underestimate the anticipatory magic of Google's algorithms to know where you were/are/will be months from now before you even imagined your whereabouts in your wildest dreams(*).

        (*) Google NightsTM is a project to anticipate your dreams by interpreting the received electromagnetic radiation from neurons firing during sleep captured by you mobile phonespy.

        1. ChoHag Silver badge

          Didn't you have ads in the 20th21st century?

          Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio. And in magazines. And movies. And at ball games and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts and written on the sky. But not in dreams. No siree!

          1. b0llchit Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Futuramalistic! Nice ref!

      2. Tom66

        "YMMV, based on where you were"?

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge


    You could just avoid Chrome (and its friends) like the plague...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Or...

      Chrome is running nicely, the good feature is that Windows 7 Professional has stopped all Chrome updates so I'm not seeing any problems.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Or...

        Of course you wouldn't.

        AC indeed Larry Page!

      2. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

        Re: Or...

        "the good feature is that Windows 7 Professional has stopped all Chrome updates so I'm not seeing any problems."

        One of my Windows 7 holdout clients is in the same reasonably happy boat, except that his bank will no longer allow him to log in with chrome. Not unreasonable, and easily if temporarily circumvented by installing Firefox just for that site.

      3. Grogan Bronze badge

        Re: Or...

        That's the good thing about running EOL software loads :-)

        I used Windows 7 like that for years, for my games (in a dual boot... I'm a Linux guy). I took the "free upgrade" to Windows 10 and regretted it, fought with it for a year, mainly mandatory updates and build upgrades that kept putting back everything I mitigated. They were so arrogant as to "upgrade" my AMD graphics drivers (replacing them with MIcrosoft supplied), I used to have to jump through hoops and use a driver cleaner etc. every time. So then I took to setting the Windows Update Service and Background Intelligent Transfer Service to "Disabled" and getting updates manually when I'm ready to, and that worked for a while, until one of the updates I let on started checking and re-enabling those services (nothing is supposed to enable an explicitly disabled service)

        So I wiped and installed Windows 7 Pro, Service Pack 1, and the "Platform Update". That was the baseline, back then, software and games usually didn't require higher patch levels than that for W7.

        I used that for games, untouched, with nothing bothering me (I kept upgrading my AMD graphics drivers) until around 2018 when using Wine and translation technologies (good directx to vulkan translation with DXVK) on Linux got more practical.

        I still have Windows 7 in a Qemu virtual machine, for the rare occurrence that I need to run some little program in a native Win32 environment.

        Windows 7 was the best thing Microsoft ever beshat. I didn't even hate Windows anymore. Then they switched gears, with a power grab (Windows 8) and ruined the computing environment.

  4. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Just been told by my bank to try Chrome to see if it fixes a problem.

    Just told my bank to sod off.

    1. Grogan Bronze badge

      I look after my own end very well, and I wouldn't even be calling any kind of support if I didn't already know it was a problem upstream from me, or otherwise their problem. So I just lie, even though I don't have Edge or Chrome or Windows installed anywhere.

      I once had some silly young girl from ISP tech support tell me that I had to "connect to the service with a standard Windows connection" (the PPPoE client) and tell her the error message if I want support. My router had the PPPoE client which isn't exactly rocket science. I told her that I use Linux and almost musically "We don't support Linux". I was a business customer, with "computer service" in the name, that she'd clearly see in the account info too. I was reporting that my modem had no line sync and thus software wouldn't even come into play. So I called another number given to me by someone who had some clout there, to complain about this stunned cow. I got my problem fixed in a jiffy, it was at the DSLAM (card needed reseating or something. "reset" was the language used)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, like most places that say it's web based

      When they say "Runs on any web browser" it means "runs on some versions of Chrome."

      Which ones work changes by the hour, because they change it however they want, whenever they want, and show little fear of breaking things.

      The whole web is a lie, browser portability is one of the largest ones. I tested a dozen high profile sites on a mobile browser last week and got a literal white screen. With the Dev tools loaded you could see the site start to load, and then send shit to the mobile device. Putting it in reader mode or desktop mode was totally ignored.

      We need to stop trying to fix html and browsers. It's all shit, all the way down. The modern web browser is and forever will be almost always, but not quite always, the worst possible tool for whatever you need to do. But you just can't stop spanking that little web monkey can you?

      It could be worse, and has been, and probably will be again soon. Who knew it would all be down hill after CURL.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, like most places that say it's web based

        Thanks. I've been saying this more or less for years.

        But Rube Goldberg-ing pays more, so here we are. Simplicity is against policy in many places these days. And the quest for the walled garden never ends.

  5. Jay F

    This is easily fixed by patching your systems. On Windows, click the gear icon, select Apps, then Unistall. Fixed!

  6. t245t
    Big Brother

    Enhanced Ad Privacy ..

    Adblock + No Script + + Remove Google Redirect + a hosts adblocker file ..

    Without these, browsing is unfücḳing usable.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Enhanced Ad Privacy ..

      I've just changed my DNS settings to use an adblocking server. Works very ncieley (as well as all your above list!)

      1. Evil Scot

        Re: Enhanced Ad Privacy ..

        So that Google et al can stop stuffing their cakeholes.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Enhanced Ad Privacy ..

        > I've just changed my DNS settings to use an adblocking server

        PiHole? So you check it hasn't "accidentally" whitelisted one or two "helpful"[1] advert servers?

        [1] read "supplier of fat brown envelopes"

        1. Knightlie

          Re: Enhanced Ad Privacy ..

          Hmm, so that's where these nauseating game ads are coming from. Can we not even trust Pihole any more?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Enhanced Ad Privacy ..

            No! What is wrong with you people!

            >> I've just changed my DNS settings to use an adblocking server

            > PiHole? So you check it hasn't "accidentally" whitelisted one or two "helpful"[1] advert servers?

            Are you using a PiHole?

            > So you check it hasn't "accidentally" whitelisted one or two "helpful"[1] advert servers?

            So you CAN see what the whitelist contains.

            Othewise, you use a third-party "filtered" DNS and can not check that it has no whitelisted one or two "helpful"[1] advert servers?

            PiHole is GOOD thing and it gets downvoted!

        2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          Re: Enhanced Ad Privacy ..

          You know you can set the block list on a Pi Hole to anything you like, right? You can use one of many, many preconfigured lists, or even hand-craft your own blacklist / whitelist.

          If you're relying on a third-party list, and they don't blacklist something you want blocked, you can just block that domain yourself.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Enhanced Ad Privacy ..

      Even easier: use another browser.

      1. Basmman63

        Re: Enhanced Ad Privacy ..

        This. Simple.

    3. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: Enhanced Ad Privacy ..

      + Pi Hole + Firefox

      People use Chrome because they are lazy, in the same way that people used to use Internet Explorer.

      Other, privacy conscious, browsers are available, but you'd be a fool to implicitly trust any software you hadn't written yourself, and then there's questions about whether you should even trust your compiler anyway, thanks to Ken Thompson...

      Maybe it's time to get the soldering iron out and start making your own transistors. Can we trust that this semiconductor wafer is really n-doped?

  7. sarusa Silver badge

    'Enhanced Ad Privacy'

    'Enhanced Ad Privacy'

    Gotta love the utterly Orwellian name here. And once again the 'Spawn of Satan' icon gets hauled out. I hope it gets a year-end bonus.

  8. Wellyboot Silver badge

    no change there then..

    The Google/Android environment is built to harvest information for its creators while providing 'nice to have' features that aid in that harvesting.

    Preventing other developers* from harvesting the same information is a secondary goal. If third party developers can't operate within the ever shifting boundaries that's their problem and any good ideas they produce can be used to 'inspire' future android features.

    From the droidnote

    >>>there need to be practical and officially supported mechanisms for advanced users who know what they're doing to override these protections.<<<

    Does anyone else think that this could easily become a weak point for mounting attacks?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: no change there then..

      Chrome became the dominant desktop browser largely due to Google's decision to develop a better browser and the resources to market from both sides: to users "as a better browser" and putting "works better in Chrome" on its websites after the success of the initial IE 6 notice on YouTube. Things would never have got this bad if Microsoft had given up its goal of ruling the browserverse (sorry) earlier.

      Google is certainly monopolistic but it has kept Chromium open source and worked tirelessly to make browsers and the web better so that far fewer proprietary formats (Flash, Quicktime, RealVideo, GoToMeeting, etc.) are required. Security and speed have improved as has developed.

      In fact, given its dominance in search-based advertising it's a little weird to see it pursuing this contentious route, which is likely to see mired in litigation. But then I think of the screams of the advertisting industry over the end of the third-party cookie and the sound of massive cheques being written for an alternative. And I can imagine that, in the future, we might see more of this ad-based web similar to how commercial television or ad-funded streaming. I think that more people than we might imagine would be happy with that.

      1. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: no change there then..

        Chrome became the dominant desktop browser due to Google's decision to have it incorporated in every freaking installer under the sun in such a way it was hard NOT to install it.

        There, much better.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: no change there then..

          Take up, and I followed this very carefully at the time, was picking up long before Google adopted the shoehorn tactic, of which it was not the only example. The major change started in 2009 and can be traced back to a campaign on YouTube, which demonstrated that for many video was the future of the web:

      2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: no change there then..

        Chrome is not Chromium in the way that a Ford Fiesta is not a Zetec engine. Other, less popular cars (for instance the Ford Focus) can be built around the Zetec engine, in the same way that other, less popular browsers (read: Edge) can be built around the chromium engine.

        All* the privacy violating stuff is in Chrome, not in Chromium, in the same way that a Ford Focus does not have a Ford Fiesta chassis.

        Meanwhile, there are people who don't like Fords and drive a Renault, or an Audi, or a Volvo, in the same way that people who don't trust or like Google use another non-chromium-based browser, such as Firefox.

        *Well, probably all. Certainly a lot of the most egregious stuff.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not that I shed tears towards any advertisers and data collectors...

    but there really is nothing called "anti-trust" any more, is there? what's Chrome's market share these days? Dominant in any case.

    Removing third party cookies while at the same time rolling out your own, proprietary solutions will need to use certainly seems like one of the final steps on the road to total lock in that the former "do no evil" people have been traveling a decade.

    I just hope the giant tech companies end up with their IBM MicroChannel moments before the Internet ossifies *completely* into American cable company-like fiefdoms of endless price increases and service degradation.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      It's called the EU.

      Those in the USA and UK, well unless you have a few hundred million (or in the UK went to Eton*) to force change, then forget it

      *We all know that MPs are exempt from any laws regarding....well anything really

      1. TheMeerkat


        Is it the same EU that so far only achieved that we have to click, most of us automatically, without thinking, on a pop-up window to agree with cookies every tie we go to a different website?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's the EU that had caused many US website to block EU (specifically, EEC) access, due to their shady practices.

          If I was in the US, I would boycott such dubious sites.

          Oh, and your cause-and-effect example is bogus.

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Is it the same EU that so far only achieved that we have to click, most of us automatically, without thinking, on a pop-up window to agree with cookies every tie we go to a different website?

          Luckily there's an app for that, at least one of the privacy extensions in Firefox has an 'auto-f'off' feature. At least I guess until that app maker gets taken over and it auto opts-in. But then there's all the 'dark pattern' stuff, like radio buttons that don't tell you if they mean on/off. I think one of the worst mistakes the Internet ever made though was just the naming of the beast. Cookies sound so sweet and innocent. Who wouldn't like a cookie? Calling them 'creepers' or 'stalkers' would have been far better, and far more apt.

          If I ever got truly rich and shameless, I'd love to hire PIs to follow FANG execs around the world with N.Korean-style notepads, jotting down everywhere they visit, everyone they meet, every conversation they have. Perhaps then C-level execs may finally get the clue that we don't want this level of privacy invasion.

  10. Adair Silver badge

    Hey, Google ...

    fuck off. And when you get there, fuck off from there too. Then fuck off some more. Keep fucking off until you get back here. Then fuck off again ...

    ... until you disappear up your own hubris and form a fuck off singularity.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge
  11. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

    Some questions

    So in the US it's opt-out, in the EU it's opt-in? What about the UK?

    Also, on which platforms will the Topics API run? Desktop, Android, iOS?

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Re: Some questions

      I think Google has the same privacy rules in EEA + UK + CH. IIRC they also treat those countries the same for GDPR and right to be forgotten, regardless of legal requirements.

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: Some questions

        The government in the UK hasn't (yet) managed to butcher the UK's implementation of GDPR so that the laws surrounding privacy are weakened. They do, however, seem to be fully intent on doing so. Big companies will probably not take advantage of this, because the incoming Labour government could very well end up strengthening privacy laws when they replace the Tories next year. Then again, seeing how Starmer appears to be trying to appease everyone with money, they could be weakened further.

        In any case, when we rejoin the EU, be that in 5, 10 or 20 years time, GDPR will have to apply again.

        Once a solution is in place, organisations aren't going to change it unless they have to, or have some clear benefit from doing so. If anything, other incoming government policies are likely to make doing business in the UK less attractive anyway (such as the idea of breaking encrypted communications because THINK OF THE CHILDREN, that everyone is saying is about as clever and workable as the idea of having Liz Truss as Prime Minister).

  12. MJI Silver badge


    Just install it

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Firefox

      The problem there is that on Ubuntu, that means using Snaps...

      1. TVU Silver badge

        Re: Firefox

        The last time I checked, Firefox was still available in the repositories so there's no need to use Snaps. In addition, and over at omg! ubuntu, there's a guide on how to install Flatpak on Ubuntu.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Firefox

          > In addition, and over at omg! ubuntu, there's a guide on how to install Flatpak on Ubuntu.

          Yay! Don't want Snaps, here, install Flatpak instead!

          Frying pan, meet fire. Fire, frying pan.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Firefox

          Lol.You may as well said there's a guide on how to install windows ..

      2. LionelB Silver badge

        Re: Firefox

        > that means using Snaps...

        ... which, on my official work Ubuntu installation simply, categorically do not work. Because our home directories are not located at /home/username. (Since you ask, no, symlinks do not fix the issue.)

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Howard Sway Silver badge

        Re: Firefox

        Full instructions to deinstall snap Firefox on Ubuntu and use apt to install from debian repos can be found here

      5. RedGreen925

        Re: Firefox

        "The problem there is that on Ubuntu, that means using Snaps..."

        Download the .tar.bz2 from their website extract it to somewhere in the path of your system and run it. If you copy over the profile from your old install of it you do not loose any settings. Most times by the time I check for updates in the about dialog it has already downloaded it to be applied on next restart. You can use .desktop file in the ~/.local/share/applications/ to get it in the menus if you do not pin it to the taskbar.

        zeus@9600k:~$ cat .local/share/applications/firefox.desktop

        [Desktop Entry]


        Comment=Browse the World Wide Web

        GenericName=Web Browser

        X-GNOME-FullName=Firefox Web Browser

        Exec=/home/zeus/bin/firefox/firefox %u









        1. Long John Silver

          Re: Firefox

          I had a bad time with Snaps when I used it, against advice, in Linux Mint. Getting rid was messy.

        2. David 132 Silver badge

          Re: Firefox

          Upvoted for a very detailed and helpful 'splainer.

          However, I'm docking you one-tenth of a Quatloo for typing "loose [sic] any settings" !

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Firefox

          Or on a decent Unix system:

          pkg install Firefox

          Or to install from source,

          cd /usr/ports/www/firefox && make install clean

          Remember the days when Linux used to be clean too?

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Firefox

        The problem is that you're using the Windows of the linux world.

  13. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Typically Tropical Topical Topics

    So how does a site make it known to the browser what topics a user is interested in when viewing a page?

    Asking for a friend who might be thinking of adding 'porn', 'wanking', and 'recreational drugs' to their pages.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Re: Typically Tropical Topical Topics

      Figuring out what a website is about is practically the entire business model of Google Search. You can try to mislead them with SEO and the like, but they have a lot of experience doing it, and they might well push down your results to hell (aka "page 2").

      It's like suing a law firm. You can get away with it, but you better know what you're doing.

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: Typically Tropical Topical Topics

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google's Play Integrity API

    Anyone else dismayed by the attitude of Google on that API?

    > help you to ensure that users experience your apps and games in the way you intend.

    Not helping the Users "experience" anything the way *they* would like to, not protecting the Users from, say, a hacked binary but protecting the devs.

    Hint: without happy Users, there is absolutely no value[1] in being a dev.

    [1] you may well be being paid as an app dev to deliver no value[2], but is that a long-term strategy to rely on?

    [2] and if you realise you are not delivering any value to the User, just admit you aren't a dev, you are in advertising! Now try looking at yourself in the mirror!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Halfway there

    This sounds like half the solution is done.

    Now Google just needs to move the Topics from users to the websites, so you serve ads based on the topic of the website rather than snooping on users.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: Halfway there

      Display ad providers hav been using Websites as an indicator of topics for at decades now. Any marketer with half a brain[1] knows that websites are a strong indicator of topics - would you rather have your ads for selling fabric appear on or[3]

      [1] Not that all of us have half a brain. [2]

      [2] Or the client is throwing horrific amounts of money into a marketing campaign with a horrible ROI

      [3] Please note that I'm not talking about the ads that follow you around the web, known as remarketing in the field. Those already exist, just not quite as much in Google's walled garden as Google would like (that's what the privacy sandbox thing is about in the first place)

  16. Knightlie

    So no user choice, as usual

    "Chrome picks these topics of interest from studying the user's browser history."

    There's the problem right there - if *I* can choose my topics, I'd be happy with this, but Google rifling through my browser history to make that decision for me is a hard GTFO.

    *Goes to update Pihole*

  17. xyz123 Silver badge

    Taking bets turning these options off does nothing for "some users". i.e. those chrome has determined aren't tech-savvy and won't be packet-sniffing and using other tools to check the system is actually disabled.

    And google will claim its "a bug"

  18. xyz123 Silver badge

    Someone needs to build a chrome extension or website that fills your history with utter randomized crap.

    Render the advertising data useless when you apparently have a keen interest in everything from anally-inserted vegetables to the minutae of the works of shakespeare (translated to ancient sumerian)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @xyz123 - There is no such thing as useless advertising data

      Google is making money anyway by selling your good or bad data. Remember, advertisers pay Google to show you the ads, tailored or not, irrespective of whether we watch them or not. They have no way to check if your profile Google builds for them is accurate or not. What's more important, the poor end-user who swallows ads by the ton, has no word in it.

    2. Randy Hudson

      Yes, but can you give us a few examples of the randomized crap?

  19. Randy Hudson

    Chrome exists for the sole purpose of perpetuating Google's monopoly in advertising.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      No fan of Google, but I'd disagree. Chrome exists for the sole purpose of being better than Internet Explorer.

      The advertising side is just a bonus for the Goog.

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Chrome exists for the sole purpose of being better than Internet Explorer

        Low bar there!

      2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        No fan of Google, but I'd disagree. Chrome Firefox exists for the sole purpose of being better than Internet Explorer.

        FTFY, no charge, and not even any advertising cookies on your machine for the trouble.

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge

          The two statements are not mutually exclusive, my friend :)

  20. ITMA Silver badge

    Dear Google

    Please accept my feedback in which ever order you wish to interpret them:

    "The", "Off", "Right", "Fuck".

    Although they have miles to go to get to the same level of fuckery Microsoft get up to every time they do some pointless update to Edge - usually an excuse to force all of their preferred settings on to you and try to force you to use it.

  21. Rich 2 Silver badge

    “ The problem there is that on Ubuntu, that means using Snaps...”

    Can’t you just download it directly from Moz instead?

  22. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    My new ROG Phone 7 has these Googley privacy menus in the system settings. That means it may be far, far worse than Chrome. It implies Android System WebView and built-in advertising APIs.

    Android has really needed a non-Google maintained fork since version 10.

  23. Marty McFly Silver badge

    The real problem...

    I have listened to Steve Gibson's ( analysis of Topics and how it works. The technical nuts & bolts all sound good. However...

    The real problem is none of us trust Google. Every thing they do is self-serving, and 'free' just means I am the product being sold. They didn't put this new framework together because they were making too much money and decided it was enough.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not just

    use "AdNauseam" ?

  25. Tron Silver badge

    The walls of the walled gardens are getting higher.

    There is probably some state spookware that gets hidden by this.

    On the plus side, I'll get more ads offering me porn, Japanese maid services and chocolate. Cool.

  26. Long John Silver

    VPN use could add confusion to Google's plans

    I have no idea how many people routinely use VPN services. I do to access RT and an occasional streaming site. However, I don't use Microsoft or Google software. That is, except for Chrome (locked down as far as possible) on Linux because it enables Wi-Fi LAN screencasting to a Sony Android TV; other Linux casting utilities don't work fully for me.

    If Chrome has to present itself to differing legal jurisdictions according to their local stipulations, does it determine its legal identity via user input information upon setting up, else does base it upon the IP address in use? If confusions arise, presumably they affect travellers among countries too.

    1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: VPN use could add confusion to Google's plans

      I'm assuming you're accessing RT for research purposes, rather than as a news source? Some of that Russian propaganda can be pretty insidious, and you can be made to look quite the fool for swallowing it, when it turns out to be demonstrably false (such as footage of "air strikes" taken from video games).

  27. aerogems Silver badge

    "Enhanced Ad Privacy" sounds like an even more tortured use of the english language than Microsoft's use of "genuine" to mean "licensed".

    I hate to sound like a conspiracy nutter here, but there is plenty of historical precedent for Google doing things like this to kneecap its competitors and make it's own services seem more compelling. I mean, if I'm a company looking to place ads and Ad Slinging Company X suddenly has far less reach and is more like TV commercials where you're just putting everyone on blast and hoping the right people are paying attention, but Google can still offer the same targeting levels (or maybe even more granular)... Which one am I more likely to go with?

    Ever since Google bought DoubleClick -- inventor of the tracking cookie, and all around scum of the earth company -- it's been like the AOL Time Warner merger in reverse. Where TW somehow managed to purge itself of the corrupting influence, even though AOL bought TW, Google has been taken over from within and rotting from the inside out ever since.

    1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      The truth of the matter is, that advertising targeted at the user is really no more effective than advertising targeted at the topic of the site it appears on, and potentially less so.

      If I'm looking to by a refrigerator, and I go to an appliances site and see adverts for refrigerators, they are likely to be relevant, and at least make me aware of brands that exist in the field. I'll still go and read a bunch of reviews and then pick a make and model I intend to buy, and search for the cheapest supplier, rather than click on an ad and pay for a refrigerator that has been made slightly more expensive by the fact that the price has advertising costs baked in.

      If the ad trackers determine I've been looking at appliance sites and start targeting ads at me for refrigerators, my response is likely to be "why would I want to buy another refrigerator".

      In any case, my immediate response to 99.99% of adverts will be "fuck off," and they will make me less likely to buy that product, especially if it is a product in a field where I am already aware of other offerings. Others may be more susceptible to advertising mindfuckery, but awareness of how advertising psy-ops work is the first step in not being influenced.

  28. ecofeco Silver badge


    What is this Chrome you speak of?

    Meanwhile. FireFox continues to improve its security and privacy.

    1. mattaw2001

      Re: Chrome?

      And surprisingly, performance. It's on a par or better then chrome on most benchmarks - a steady improvement over the last year or so.

      That could also be due to chrome's constant API growth, eg. Webusb, because of course bidirectional access to and from the Internet to a wire protocol that has no trust model to speak of.

  29. Number 39

    Browser Partitioning

    I generally try to practice Browser partioning:


    1. Chrome for Google Properties (and logins)

    2. Edge for MS properties

    3. Safari for Apple properties (on Apple devices)

    4. Firefox for everything else

    Perhaps adding Chromium for Amazon Properties, and (if I used any) Brave for Meat properties.

  30. Jim Whitaker

    What's an advertisement?

    Do I understand from this that there are still people who see ads? Please do introduce them to an AdBlocker.

    1. Drat

      Re: What's an advertisement?

      Congratulations for completely removing adverts from your online experience! I hope none manage to sneak through your defences.

      I will celebrate your achievement by eating a delicious double decker, a crispy and chewy nougat chocolate bar, yum!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lies, lies, lies - so business as usual then?

    It seems that that is the way ahead for all US companies when they get bigger.

    "Privacy Sandbox project" - nice use of words, but your privacy isn't sandboxed, but your choices regarding it. The key reason for Google abandoning cookies is (like Facebook) that they have discovered it makes it too easy to avoid their theft of personal information which both see as their divine right for profit, your rights be damned.

    One minor nit with the article: "Unlike America, where opt-out is acceptable and opt-in requirements are broadly opposed by marketers, EU data privacy rules are more demanding in the way data choices are presented." - that was only true until marketing lobbyists spent enough money on expensive dinners for EU officials to get their "legitimate purpose" exception, which now basically means you STILL have to manually opt out (which is in 99% of cases not a single button exercise).

    The &^%$ marketeers now show you one set to opt out of in the hope that you ignore the other, more hidden set (and yes, that non-explicit presentation is apparently legal) which allows them to pretty much ignore your default not accepting to opt in (I hope you're still with me here) because the other set (which defaults to you opting in already) still makes it OK. It has become one more backdoor to avoid them pesky privacy laws for, well, profit.

    With a degree of IMHO deliberate irony, "legitimate purpose" effectively legitimises ignoring the user's wishes and rights, even worse that is even done so by default.

    So let's stop holding up Europe as a beacon of privacy - that too has turned into mainly a game for political leverage. It has less and less to do with your actual rights, article 12 of the UDHR be damned.

    Dammit, that's my rant quota for this week. Worth it, though.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "which included support for Google's Topics API,"

    I read that as "Toxic API"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There is a difference?

  33. apdxb

    Be Brave...

    Nobody mentioning Brave?

    This is basically Chrom[ium] without Google's evil-ish additions

    Great against Youtbe in particular.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be Brave...

      Crypto spam?

      May as well just use open source chromium

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