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Is Google's opt-out from Google Analytics necessary & safe to use?

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  • Last reply by jscher2000

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I've seen that there is a Google add-on for Firefox that opts out of Google Analytics. Since I trust Google about as far as I could throw a grand piano, my question is: a) is this add-on safe to use? b) is it necessary, or is there something that I could use that would block Google Analytics as part of its blocking? I do not use Google Search any more and have removed it from Firefox (or does it get re-installed every time I update?). I am a neophyte about computer privacy and am trying to learn.

Modified by perennialstudent

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That particular extension is probably safe. Whether it is fully effective, I have no idea.

If you do not want to be tracked by Google Analytics on sites that use it, you can (1) shorten the standard duration that cookies are retained, so tracking is less effective/personal, and/or (2) use an add-on (or external program) that blocks scripts from or connection to google-analytics.com, where in most cases the script loads from. One potential downside to #2 is that users have reported broken features on a couple of sites -- these sites take tracking so seriously that certain links completely fail to operate if Google Analytics is disabled.

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Hi

I guess that you mean this?

I do not know or use it myself and have no way to test or see how useful it is. It is really for you to make a decision on whether you wish to use it and to balance the the need for the services provided by Google and the potential privacy benefits.

To help you learn more about web privacy, I recommend the Mozilla Get smart guides to this topic.

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Yes, that "Google Analytics Opt-out add-on" is what I meant. I don't use any Google services except an institutional e-mail account that I can't get rid of; I was only concerned about whether this add-on would give Google an entry to my browsing. Thanks for the suggestion about the Mozilla guides; I will go through those and see what I want to do next.

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Chosen Solution

That particular extension is probably safe. Whether it is fully effective, I have no idea.

If you do not want to be tracked by Google Analytics on sites that use it, you can (1) shorten the standard duration that cookies are retained, so tracking is less effective/personal, and/or (2) use an add-on (or external program) that blocks scripts from or connection to google-analytics.com, where in most cases the script loads from. One potential downside to #2 is that users have reported broken features on a couple of sites -- these sites take tracking so seriously that certain links completely fail to operate if Google Analytics is disabled.

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Thank you! that's also a help. As to duration of cookie retention, the only options I seem to have are "until I close Firefox" or "until they expire", so I have set "until I close Firefox" and I close Firefox periodically while I'm using it, especially if I'm looking for something I plan to buy. Actually, it might be very interesting to know which sites "take tracking so seriously that certain links completely fail to operate if Google Analytics is disabled" -- maybe I'd like to avoid those.

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perennialstudent said

Actually, it might be very interesting to know which sites "take tracking so seriously that certain links completely fail to operate if Google Analytics is disabled" -- maybe I'd like to avoid those.

The ones I recall were a photo slide show on a travel side, maybe one of the Conde Nast titles, and the other was the top headlines on the USA Today home page (didn't affect "sections" of the site).