Feeds

Google vows to delete Chrome's unique client ID

After it's installed on your PC

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Google is changing the way it handles the unique identifier that accompanies each installation of its Chrome browser.

As noticed by H-Online, a Google white paper (pdf) says the company will now delete the unique ID after the browser updates itself for the first time.

Google has confirmed with The Reg that the change will be made with the upcoming Chrome 4.1. A 4.1 beta was released earlier this month.

Google's white paper says the token will now be used solely to verify a successful install. "In order to measure the success rate of Google Chrome downloads and installations, a randomly-generated token is included with Google Chrome's installer," it reads. "This token is sent to Google during the installation process to confirm the success of that particular installation."

As it stands, Google lays down the unique identifier in the Chrome installation folder, but it says this is not linked to personal data and that it is merely used to check for updates and report crashes back to the company. It is reassigned each time the browser is updated.

With Chrome 4.1 it will still appear on the user's machine, but it will then be deleted after the initial update. "It's about time," reads a blog post from Mozilla director of community development Asa Dotzler. But he questions why the identifier is laid down in the first place. "But why ship it at all. Is it really that important to track individual users through their first automatic (and silent) update?" he asks.

As Google's white paper explains, the company continues to gather user data through its so-called Omnibox address bar, which suggests urls as users type. You can disable Omnibox or tell it to use another search provider. But by default, it sends what you've typed, your IP address, and certain cookies back to Google - though the company says it logs only a random two per cent of the data.

Google also says that its logs drop the cookies and scrub the last octet of your IP "within at most 24 hours".

The white paper also discusses the data Google collects when the web address you request does not resolve and when the browser updates. The browser also collects various usage statistics and crash reports, but this is turned off by default. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.