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I've noticed that on a lot of news sites and stuff, there is that icon that says "Share with Facebook" and sometimes even information about friends that have commented on the particular news article.

Does that mean that Facebook are not going keeping track of what I do on facebook, but also what I do on every facebook that has the "Share with Facebook" sign whether I like it or not? If so, what amount of information could they track? Just the fact that I went to that site or more specific information about me?

Same with google ads, a lot of sites have google ads - if I'm logged onto my gmail, does that mean google literally has a live web history of every site I've been to?

Is there any "blocker" apps I can download in order to prevent large companies from linking my web activities with my email or fb account?

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to those who want to migrate to Web Apps: at the end, the OP is asking about software to block this kind of tracking, so it makes it a software-rec question, not completely off-topic. –  studiohack Mar 15 '11 at 13:10
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@ChrisF: sorry i didn't really know which of the two sites was the most relevant for this question. deleted the other one now –  RoboShop Mar 15 '11 at 13:12
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if I'm logged onto my gmail, does that mean google literally has a live web history of every site I've been to ? --> NO. –  Sathya Mar 15 '11 at 13:20
    
"if I'm logged onto my gmail, does that mean google literally has a live web history of every site I've been to?" No, only half of all the websites, Google analytics has a marketshare of about 50%. –  JKAbrams Dec 18 '13 at 7:52
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Look at Ghostery...

Ghostery allows you to block scripts from companies that you don't trust, delete local shared objects, and even block images and iframes. Ghostery puts your web privacy back in your hands.

Works on:

  • Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Safari
  • Internet Explorer

@Sathya mentioned WidgetBlock and Disconnect.

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I just downloaded it. Wow, really easy to use and I love that thing in the right which shows you what sites have been accessed. Even Stack Exchange are tracked by google! –  RoboShop Mar 15 '11 at 12:59
    
Everything is tracked by Google...Big Bad Brother... –  studiohack Mar 15 '11 at 13:08
    
well, duh. Stack Exchange uses Google Analytics. Also, @studiohack do mention WidgetBlock & Disconnect –  Sathya Mar 15 '11 at 13:19
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Yep, they can track you, which is why there is all the recent hype over tracking cookies. All the upcoming browsers seem to be implementing a "do not track" list to block these cookies, and the EU has proposed fully outlawing them without user consent. Just because you visit www.*.com doesn't mean you only get cookies from them, Google will also drop a cookie on your PC for ad sense, which allows them to track everywhere you go from there. Cookies are not the only way they can track you just the most prevalent and easiest method, since every site tries to put cookies on your PC whether they are necessary or not. Just try browsing the web with No script on, cross requests blocked, and all cookies off, sure it's safe but it can get a little annoying. Personally I think I could deal with a much safer plain text web or you could just use Ghostery like Studiohack suggests.

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The AdBlock Plus with the EasyPrivacy filter should help with that:

EasyPrivacy is an optional supplementary subscription that completely removes all forms of tracking from the internet, including web bugs, tracking scripts and information collectors, thereby protecting your personal data.

or better, the Fanboy Ultimate List, which combines EasyPrivacy, with EasyList (main ad blocking filter; a lot of ads are also trackers) and an Annoyances filter (social media content [e.g. Facebook, Google+, etc], in page pop-ups and other annoyances)


Also, see the user script, Don't track me Google (for the Greasemonkey, Tampermonkey or equivalent user script browser extensions)

Removes the annoying link-conversion (on click) at Google Search. The Referrer is also hidden to improve your privacy.

At the Google Search engine, search results are converted to an ugly link upon click. This link enables tracking for Google, and hides the referrer to other sites.

For example, the search entry

  • http://www.google.com/
    (when searching for "Google") will be replaced with:
  • https://encrypted.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=Google&source=web&cd=8&sqi=2&ved=0CFgQFjAH&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&ei=Ej__TrCkJo2bOrSs2aIE&usg=AFQjCNG5-9Jej-ukVeakTgwonqt2narbYg&sig2=f9f1dWcZoj6ZUC2Zxy9y2g

This script removes Google's link-conversion/tracking feature. The referral hiding feature has been implemented in another way, so that the 3rd-party sites cannot track your Google search query.

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