Feeds

Google vows to delete Chrome's unique client ID

After it's installed on your PC

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
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
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.