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from the L.A. Times

Google rolls out browser add-on to allow users to block analytics software

Google is rolling out a browser add-on that allows users to block its popular Google Analytics software from tracking them when visiting websites that use it.

Like with other tools that give users more control over how their data are collected, Google can promote the add-on as another step it has taken to protect consumer privacy. Google first announced that it was working on the browser add-on two months ago amid complaints from privacy watchdogs.

“We take privacy very seriously and we’re committed to providing users with more choice. Though Google Analytics collects information anonymously and in aggregate only, the add-on gives users the choice to opt-out of the Google Analytics Javascript (ga.js) sending information to Google Analytics,” Google spokesman Brian Richardson said in an e-mail. “We’re constantly working to both enhance the privacy options for users and provide website owners with valuable data to improve their websites.”

It’s unclear how many users will take advantage of the new tool. Google’s other tools, Ads Preferences Manager and the DoubleClick opt-out plug-in, have not been wildly popular. For example, one in 15 visitors to the Ad Preferences site decide to opt out, four edit the information about their interests and 10 do nothing, Richardson said.

The add-on is in beta and is not available for all browsers.

-- Jessica Guynn

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