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. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
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.
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?