Google update wants to make surfing the web much more private

(Image credit: Google)

Google is continuing its crusade to create a more private internet, announcing an update to the Privacy Sandbox initiative it launched last year. When it was announced, Privacy Sandbox had the twin goals of blocking cross-site tracking, while still continuing to guarantee a free and vibrant web.

Today, Google can confirm that some of its new privacy solutions are available for experimental testing through Chrome origin trials – a way for the web community to give feedback on new features before they are made available to all users.

The new features build on a number of other privacy proposals launched recently by the search engine giant. Earlier this year, for example, Chrome announced that it would be phasing out support for third-party cookies and, more recently, brought Secure DNS to Android devices to tackle user tracking.

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Among the new features being tested are Trust Tokens, which will help to distinguish between genuine users and bots to support the battle against online fraud. Another is the Event Conversion Measurement API, which enables marketers to see when ad clicks lead to a revenue generation opportunity, without revealing the user’s identity.

“In January we shared our intent to develop privacy-preserving open-standards that will render third-party cookies obsolete,” Justin Schuh, Director of Chrome Engineering, stated in a blog post. “Since then, Google and others have proposed several new APIs to address use cases like fraud protection, ad selection, and conversion measurement without allowing users’ activity to be tracked across websites.”

Google is well aware that new initiatives are not always well received and online privacy requires a difficult balancing act to be struck – one that protects individual web users, but that also safeguards the ad revenue that so much of the internet relies on. As a result, the firm is continuing to ask for feedback regarding its privacy proposals, which can be shared via GitHub or by emailing the W3C group.

Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.