The feature means that despite being last to announce it, Google was first to implement a “Do Not Track” element to its web browser which streamlines the process required for blocking online tracking for advertisement purposes.
The new approach means that all participating companies will be blocked, even ones that are added over time, and this feature will remain enabled regardless of cookie clears. This simplifies the process and is likely to be implemented by privacy-conscious users.
Microsoft was first to announce in December that it would be adding tracking prevention into the next version of its web browser, Internet Explorer 9. It was a feature previously slated for Internet Explorer 8, but was removed under pressure from a number of large advertisers.
More recently Mozilla’s Global Privacy and Public Policy team recommended that a similar feature, in the form of a HTTP header, be added to Firefox. While this has yet to be confirmed as an upcoming addition, it’s likely that we will see it before long now that Chrome has it and Internet Explorer has it on the way.
If Mozilla does not implement the feature, however, Google might get there first. It has said that it is busy working on making an extension for other browsers. It will also release the extension code as open source, which means that one way or another we can expect this functionality across the board.