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Firefox Addon Sounds When Google Spies Info

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 31 comments

This Firefox add-on could be both informative and annoying at the same time.

Thanks to a browser add-on, Firefox users can now see how their information is sent to Google severs when they visit a web page. Called Google Alarm, the add-on displays a red warning message in the top-right corner of the browser window while blaring an extremely annoying siren.

"Even outside Gmail and YouTube you are constantly sending information to Google through their vast network of tracking bugs: Google Analytics, Google AdSense, YouTube embeds, API calls.. all of this data [can] be used to monitor & track your personal web browsing habits," said the add-on's developer, Jamie Wilkinson.

When visiting a web page, the add-on will present various data depending on the amount of Google-linked code. After installation, one particular website statistic indicated that (currently) 53 of 71 websites visited (74.6-percent) have used Google tracking tools. Separate notifications indicated that the current hardware website in question was shown to use both Google Analytics and Google AdSense (as seen in the screenshot to the right).

Additional testing with other related websites yielded similar results.

In addition to Analytics and AdSense, the add-on will also reveal if the website is actually hosted by Google or features an embedded YouTube video. For Firefox users who can't deal with the noise, Wilkinson also provides a siren-free version--ideal for a work environment.

Don't use Firefox? Chrome and Safari extensions are also available to install.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    nukemaster , August 11, 2010 10:19 PM
    LOL the Google spy plugin for Chrome :) 
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    blbec , August 11, 2010 10:04 PM
    Ghostery is still better
  • 7 Hide
    elel , August 11, 2010 10:06 PM
    Well, I'd try this if I didn't already have google blocked with noscript
  • Display all 31 comments.
  • -4 Hide
    chess , August 11, 2010 10:12 PM
    to be honest, i'm fine with sending Google anonymous data. As long as it is used to improve mankind!
  • 10 Hide
    nukemaster , August 11, 2010 10:19 PM
    LOL the Google spy plugin for Chrome :) 
  • -6 Hide
    nforce4max , August 11, 2010 10:20 PM
    chessto be honest, i'm fine with sending Google anonymous data. As long as it is used to improve mankind!



    Stalin and Hitler would have loved to keep you as a pet. It is people like you that allow monsters to take power and make us all suffer. Terrible life is to live in fear.
  • 9 Hide
    Camikazi , August 11, 2010 10:20 PM
    HA, hat thing is gonna drive people nutz very quickly, google analytics is on almost every page I go to, have it blocked with NoScript just cause it's everywhere.
  • 9 Hide
    dalethepcman , August 11, 2010 10:31 PM
    Quote:
    Stalin and Hitler would have loved to keep you as a pet. It is people like you that allow monsters to take power and make us all suffer. Terrible life is to live in fear.


    Believe it or not some people understand that the only way to make everything in your life private is to not live with people. Go live in fear as a Hermit. P.S. Tom's is tracking you right now, the type of computer you use, your IP address, your physical location and more.
  • 0 Hide
    hunter315 , August 11, 2010 10:31 PM
    Most pages have analytics installed, im okay with google collecting the data it does because they collect sooooo much data its absolutely impossible to track an individual, only group trends.
  • 0 Hide
    mrecio , August 11, 2010 10:38 PM
    Does this add-on block the sending of information to Google servers or does it just tell you that its being sent? If its only telling you that your information was sent what is the point of the add-on other than being extremely annoying as it appears the majority of webpages collect data.
  • 0 Hide
    mikem_90 , August 11, 2010 10:57 PM
    nforce4maxStalin and Hitler would have loved to keep you as a pet. It is people like you that allow monsters to take power and make us all suffer. Terrible life is to live in fear.


    Its a far cry from Google to Hitler and Stalin, I think you just Godwin-ed yourself. Keep in mind he said Anonymous information, not opened every detail of his life.

    Google has grown a lot over time, but they've done a lot of good for the net so far and helped shape a lot of useful services.

    They certainly have done a lot less evil than just about any other company you hear about in the press being chased around by the DOJ for unfair business practices, collusion, price fixing (SAMSUNG, MS, Intel, etc... considering some companies are claiming MS using the DOJ to attack competitors)

    Frankly, most of the criticism I hear about them tends to be half baked. Still, I am cautious. Companies can change. People can change. Most of us are not stupid, we know the difference between a company with "Do no evil" in their company directive and two of the world's biggest mass murderers.
  • 2 Hide
    Dirtman73 , August 11, 2010 11:19 PM
    Stalin and Hitler both used Google.
  • -2 Hide
    irish_adam , August 11, 2010 11:34 PM
    At the end of the day they collect info on countless millions of people, even if they did randomly choose to look at 1 specific person the likeliness of it being you is insane and as if they'd be bothered to actually find out who you are as all they'd have is an IP address and if your ISP allows it then a physical address but even then that doesnt give your name. They collect the info to find trends and stuff like that so who cares?
  • -4 Hide
    Prince_Porter , August 12, 2010 12:19 AM
    Who ares if data is being sent to Google? If you're worried about your data being sent to them, you're either doing things you shouldn't be (and are too stupid to know they still wouldn't use the data against you), and/or need to get a life.
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , August 12, 2010 12:25 AM
    If you think that blocking google-analytics will allow you to keep your privacy online you're deceiving yourself. Internet privacy is a myth. Privacy in general is a myth. Everywhere you go, everything you do and everything about you is being tracked by someone.
  • 6 Hide
    Firehead2k , August 12, 2010 1:09 AM
    kind of funny, yet fair, hearing about this from toms.
    Lets see, the scripts from 3rd party domains I'm blocking on toms right now are:
    google-analytics.com
    addthis.com
    kontera.com
    revsci.net
    dl-rms.com
    uservoice.com
    scorecardresearch.com
  • -3 Hide
    bin1127 , August 12, 2010 1:20 AM
    unless you really believe Google is out to get you I don't see why you should be paranoid. Google has done much good for the internet and yet to have done something completely deserving of our distrust. Not that I can guarantee they aren't up to no good, but I'd take a chance with them with my data than any other company in the world.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , August 12, 2010 1:47 AM
    The alarm will probably start sounding every second because Google is so prevalent.
  • -5 Hide
    nebun , August 12, 2010 5:40 AM
    go google....you are doing a wonderful job...keep up the good work...i don't see what people are so paranoid
  • 2 Hide
    jsc , August 12, 2010 6:37 AM
    bin1127, what about Google's caving in to the Chinese government.

    Oh, wait. It didn't affect us, so never mind.
  • 0 Hide
    DjEaZy , August 12, 2010 6:51 AM
    ... in every page... may be that's why there iz so many free browsers... google pay's them in exchange of browser usage information...
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