According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is readying a Chrome update that will allow you to block marketing companies from tracking you.
First, Google wants Chrome users to have more information about the cookies that third-parties set to follow their antics through the internet. The new tool will also give you the option to block all third-party tracking from marketing companies that use your information to make their money.
The Journal reports that Google has been working on this tool on and off for six years now. However, recent privacy controversies, such as Facebook’s infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal, have reportedly accelerated the development. The new filters, the newspaper claims, will only be targeted at “profit-seeking companies,” so cookies that, say, store login information so you don’t have to keep re-entering it can stay intact.
If you’re thinking that it’s weird that Google — which makes money tracking and targeting people on the internet for ads and commerce — is adding these privacy features to Chrome, consider the fact that Google will likely not apply these filters to its own cookies. According to the Journal, “the coming changes aren’t expected to curtail significantly Google’s ability to collect data.”
Effectively, this could wipe out Google’s competition for all Chrome users, leaving the Mountain View company with the same data tracking abilities it needs to make its pennies.
If this change materializes in the way that the Journal describes it, it may cause a reaction from anti-monopolistic authorities in the European Union and the United States. After all, this “privacy effort” looks like a poorly disguised attempt for Google to use its platform power to obtain a competitive advantage. Remember that Chrome has 70% of the global desktop internet business as of March 2019 and 56% of the mobile browser market according to April 2019 data.
Google could officially reveal this new privacy tool at its Google I/O 2019 conference, which kicks off today (May 7) at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.