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Google Menu Ad Tracking: A Case Of Bad Timing?

Google is the only major browser developer that has not yet agreed to include a do-not-track feature for advertising in its software. Google has been chastised for ignoring this new trend and accused that it is selling out users to its advertisers. A new patent that describes a complex ad technology that enables advertising to “follow users” and react specifically to user interests is new ammunition for critics.


Mozilla’s Asa Dotzler has been the most outspoken critic to attack Google over its lack of do-not-track support. For Dotzler, Chrome is Netscape 7 all over again, when AOL/Netscape shipped the software as a rebadged Firefox 1 with a removed pop-up blocker. He suggests that Google’s Chrome browser team is under pressure of Google’s advertising unit, which has surely no interest in using a do-not-track technology. The overall industry trend today appears to be scaled back privacy invasion, but Google is, in fact, going the other direction. A new patent that was granted to Google today, describes a menu ad technology that gives advertisers much more granular features how users may interact with ads. Such ads have ‘menus’ and multiple levels that can even replace general website content. Google said the technology allows advertisers to track every single click and even actions such as downloaded images and what data was cached by a client device. Of course, the technology includes close tracking features across different web pages as well as “various referenced electronic documents.” Google said that it intends charge advertisers based on click-through rates, certain user activities and a  pay-for-performance model. The entire patent seems to fit Google’s recent claims that Chrome is critical for Google to maintain search dominance through its Chrome web browser and Chrome OS operating system and was described as a tool to lock users to Google’s search engine and – ultimately – its advertising services. So, how likely is it that Google will follow the do-not-track trend? Not very likely. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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