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Another privacy tool few will ever use

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Google is developing a browser plug-in that will let you opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics, the traffic monitoring service now used by 71 per cent of the top domains on the interwebs.

In a blog post yesterday, Google Analytics product manager Amy Chang said that engineers are "finalizing" testing on the plug-in and that the company intends to make it globally available "in the coming weeks".

According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, Google Analytics was used on 71 per cent of roughly 400,000 top domains as of March 2009. This same study showed that Google AdSense was used by over 35 per cent of the top domains and Google DoubleClick by over 26 per cent.

Taken together, Google-controlled web bugs were tracking users on 92 of the net's top 100 sites and about 88 per cent of almost 400,000 others.

Google already offers an opt-out plug-in for its AdSense-backed ad network - which maintains your opt-out even if you clear cookies. Its ad network now uses the same tracking cookie as DoubleClick, but Google says that at least in some cases, it is not sharing data between the two.

The fact that Google is offering an Anayltics opt-out plug-in likely means the company's internal data shows that most netizens probably won't use the thing. If too many installed the plug-in, it would reduce the accuracy of the service. ®

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