After being accused of allegedly tracking Safari and Internet Explorer browsers, Google has now announced its support for a do-not-track button to its own Chrome web browser. This would prevent companies from using information from a user’s web history to offer relevant advertising based on it. Mozilla added the do-not-track button to its Firefox browser, last year, which was followed by Internet Explorer, soon after. Apple’s Mountain Lion, the next version of its OS comes with the button in Safari browser, which was released to developers, this month, while it is expected to be up for grabs in summer.

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Do-not-track button support

We're pleased to join a broad industry agreement to respect the 'Do Not Track' header in a consistent and meaningful way that offers users choice and clearly explained browser controls,” said Susan Wojcicki, Senior Vice President of Advertising at Google, in a statement.

This announcement by Google, coincides with President Obama’s decision of making a ‘privacy bill of rights,’ which are designed for consumers, giving them more control over the data shared and stored. The privacy framework was built over two years, by the Federal Trade Commission and has resulted in a 62-page document, which puts forth the privacy principles to be followed by companies.

Even though we live in a world in which we share personal information more freely than in the past, we must reject the conclusion that privacy is an outmoded value,” President Obama said in a letter accompanying the report. “It has been at the heart of our democracy from its inception, and we need it now more than ever.”

Reportedly, privacy advocates reveal that though the do-not-track button is a positive step, it does not provide Internet users' privacy by itself. It also needs the advertising industry to enable people to opt out of being tracked, by just clicking a virtual off-switch within advertisements. However, this project isn’t linked to the browser button. With privacy and violation of user data being in the news for quite some time now, some stringent rules and regulations seem to be the need of the hour.

The real question is how much influence companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook will have in their inevitable attempt to water down the rules that are implemented, and render them essentially meaningless,” said John Simpson, Privacy Policy Director of Consumer Watchdog, in a statement.

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