What Cookies? Google, Microsoft Plot New Ways to Track You
Systems could mean big gains for tech firms
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Oct 29, 2013 9:37 AM CDT
This Oct. 1, 2011 file photo shows the Google logo at the Google headquarters in Brussels.   (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

(Newser) – The Internet's biggest players are taking a bite out of cookies. Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are all working on ways to track users on their own, without the help of the small data chunks that reveal online activity, the Wall Street Journal reports. The company that wins what one industry exec calls a"Battle Royal" stands to make big gains: "Whoever controls access to all that data can charge rent for it—and has a tremendous advantage going forward," he says.

For advertisers, the trouble with cookies is that they aren't much good on mobile platforms. So firms like Google and Microsoft are planning to assign each user a special ID for tracking purposes. Apple already has a similar system for mobile devices, while Facebook uses its own versions of cookies that can track users' behavior across multiple devices. The systems may raise privacy fears, though Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook let users decline the services (Google hasn't made its plans clear). Still, ad targeting could grow more intense: "There is going to be an economic incentive to find out when people are most impulsive and vulnerable," says a law professor. Click for the full piece.

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Showing 3 of 8 comments
Dec 17, 2013 10:18 AM CST
As long as you are plugged in, you can be tracked, the price of living in a technological dependent society. The only way to not be tracked is to live off grid.
Ezekiel 25:17
Oct 29, 2013 5:47 PM CDT
They day they want a sign in for searches is the day I stop using them. I like it that I can use tracking wipers to clean out the browsing trackers. I use several of them during the browsing experience and after and before. Then in the wee hours of the day I let the automatic wipers do their job to catch what the other ones didn't catch. Of course when I want to really fowl up the works, I route my browsing requests through proxy servers around the globe. A couple of them are through hostile countries.
Oct 29, 2013 2:21 PM CDT
Personally, I refuse to "sign in" on my android device and I keep GPS tracking disabled except when I absolutely need it. Sync this with all your other devices! Now why the hell would I want to do that? I purposefully isolate my desktop from my mobile for security reasons.