Feeds

Google vows to delete Chrome's unique client ID

After it's installed on your PC

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.