Google Will Let Web Users Avoid Analytics Tracking

With privacy concerns over various Google products seemingly cropping up every week, the company said today that it will soon let web users opt-out of being tracked by its popular Google Analytics software.

The news comes in a blog post today that says a browser-based plugin will be available “globally … in the coming weeks.”

Over the past year, we have been exploring ways to offer users more choice on how their data is collected by Google Analytics. We concluded that the best approach would be to develop a global browser based plug-in to allow users to opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics. Our engineers are now hard at work finalizing and testing this opt-out functionality.

It’s a smart move for Google to make this available; the company can point to it as needed when defending against accusations from privacy watchdogs. When Google launched its behavioral targeting ads beta last year, it included two opt-out methods — one of which was a browser plug-in — as a proactive response to privacy concerns.

The obvious question is, How many users will actually use this plug-in? Webmasters may be concerned about losing the integrity of their Google Analytics data because it won’t be tracking as many web visitors. But, in reality, a user can already opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics by turning off javascript while surfing the web.

Asked about the impact on web site owners, Google Analytics Group Product Manager Amy Chang sounded unconcerned. “Analytics reports will continue to provide advertisers with robust and valuable data to help improve their websites and advertising campaigns,” she said via email.

Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Google: Analytics | Legal: Privacy | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • WarrenWhitlock

    Cutting out the personally identifiable data would still allow analytics to count people. If GOOG did remove the clicks, we’d all just put in a different counter. Aren’t the tweets we’re seeing about doom and gloom a little much?

  • davebarnes

    Or you can use AdBlock Plus with this filter: **

  • KevM

    What about mobile browsing?

    Has there been any mention of this plugin being extended to mobile versions of browsers?

  • allenkristina

    Definitely makes sense for Google to protect itself. I doubt many users will opt-out, or even know that an opt-out option even exists so there is little need to worry about it’s impact on analytics from a general perspective.

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