In the final release of Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) there is a feature called InPrivate Filtering. What this does is as follows: –
Today websites increasingly pull content in from multiple sources, providing tremendous value to consumer and sites alike. Users are often not aware that some content, images, ads and analytics are being provided from third party websites or that these websites have the ability to potentially track their behavior across multiple websites. InPrivate Filtering provides users an added level of control and choice about the information that third party websites can potentially use to track browsing activity.
Although this would seem like a good idea, and to be fair has to be enabled on a per session basis, is this a thinly disguised dig at Google Analytics?
Most sites these days tend to use Googles Analytics stats package which puts a cookie in the browser to allow the package to track repeat visitors etc.
Although Google don’t specifically say much about what they get out of Analytics the last code update made it fairly clear that site owners could track across domains, so it seems likely that Google are too.
Obviously this information is valuable to Google for advertising purposes, but it also ensures that potentially all of us are being characterised probably without any identifiying information, but characterised all the same.
InPrivate filtering seems to be Microsofts approach to reducing the amount of data Google can collect. By blocking Analytics cookies you are essentially also blocking Googles, and the individuals websites ability to track you. A smart move on Microsofts part.
As mentioned earlier this has to be enabled on a per session basis, so is it a shot across Googles bows saying that if your not careful, we’ll block 65% of the information you receive?
What is my feeling on this? As a site owner, I would hate analytics, or any other stats package to break. This helps me improve my site for others and is an invaluable tool. However I am concerned that information on my browsing habits could be being collected on me to serve me ads., or for some other purpose I would hate to consider.
On the other hand I don’t see MS as a fighter for our rights either. Seems to me that this is just good business for Microsoft, and if they can make it seem like they are doing good at the same time….