Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Google Advertising The Internet

Google May Replace Cookies With Unique AdIDs 147

markjhood2003 writes "According to a story published in USA Today, an anonymous source at Google familiar with the plan has revealed that Google is developing an anonymous identifier for advertising tracking, replacing the function of third party cookies currently used by most major advertisers. The new AdID supposedly gives consumers more privacy and control over their web browsing, but the ad industry is worried about putting more power in the hands of large technology companies. Sounds like the idea could have some promise, but at this point the proposal is not public so we will probably have to wait until Google reaches out to the industry, government and consumers to provide the details."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google May Replace Cookies With Unique AdIDs

Comments Filter:
  • Oh really? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 20, 2013 @08:25PM (#44908877)

    we will probably have to wait until Google reaches out to the industry, government and consumers to provide the details.

    So what you're saying is you have to pass it to find out what's in it? How very Pelosi of them!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 20, 2013 @08:29PM (#44908893)

    Or take away their ability to block tracking as they can currently do with cookies? Article doesn't say much about how the new ID is supposed to work.

    • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @09:03PM (#44909085) Homepage

      Or take away their ability to block tracking as they can currently do with cookies?

      That's the basic idea. CNET covered this a few days ago. [] "The AdID would be transmitted to advertisers and ad networks that have agreed to basic guidelines, giving consumers more privacy and control over how they browse the Web,"

      Expect meaningless, easy to evade "basic guidelines", like TrustE.

      • by M. Baranczak ( 726671 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @09:21PM (#44909195)

        That CNET article is just a summary of the one in USA Today. Both of them are pretty light on information.

        Does anybody know (or at least want to take a guess) how this shit's supposed to work? How do you store this unique ID without using cookies, or something that works just like cookies?

        • by Bite The Pillow ( 3087109 ) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @12:04AM (#44909883)

          Google has not made the proposal public â" although the company plans to reach out to industry participants, government bodies and consumer groups in coming weeks and months... ... the new tool will give users the ability to limit ad tracking through browser settings... ...The AdID may be automatically reset by the browser every year, and users will be able to create a secondary AdID for online browsing sessions they want to keep particularly private, the person explained.

          It's pretty clear to me this is going to be implemented client-side in the browser, just based on the limited information available. Just like Windows Media Player's "send unique player id to content providers" option.

          Firefox (funded largely by by Google) and Chrome are slightly under 40% market share, and Chrome is increasing.

          All you need is Microsoft on board, or the advertising industry. They won't get the ad industry, so they need Microsoft. Or a plugin for IE that pops up an installer bubble when you use google search, gmail, or youtube. And I'm pretty sure Microsoft is on board, given their media player thing.

          I expect an additional header in the HTTP request. I also expect an uptick in the number of people using a customized FireFox or Chromium that does not send this, or better yet sends a random number (leave the PRNG jokes and asides out of this, that's not the topic).

          You asked for a guess.

          • by johanw ( 1001493 )

            Maybe via Javascript? That would explain the move from Firefox to remlve the "disable Javascript" from the GUI in version 23 (use the settingssanity plugin to get it back).

            • JavaScript may be involved, but controlling and tracking separate ID values for normal vs. private browsing, and control by browser settings says it's baked in to the browser somehow. Disabling JavaScript alone will not get rid of this ad ID, based on the person's description. They want a solution that will work if cookies are disabled, and falling back on JavaScript will not solve that problem.

              HTML5 and persistent storage might work. And it could be done greasemonkey style in JavaScript. But the descri

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The simplest idea is that sites would require an ID to login and view content. Think OpenID, minus the open part. Sure you could change your ID, but Google would be in charge of assigning the IDs, and they're paying researchers to come up with algorithms to help figure out that ID#1234 belongs to the owner of ID#5678.

          So in the end, the majority of the web will require an ID to view "free" content, and the price of the free admission is that you have to sign up for an ID that serves as an index into a vast n

          • by Anonymous Coward

            And then someone make a firefox plugin that always transmit the same ID. AD-haters will all use that, and the new trackers will see a single user browsing from thousands of machines. When that ID get blocked, they roll over to another "common ID" - and so on.

            • by sabri ( 584428 )

              And then someone make a firefox plugin that always transmit the same ID

              Ha, I already see myself browsing dildo's and kinky sex toys for a few nights. Imagine the look on your wife's face when she sees all the ads on your machine that are "related" to my browsing. Muhahahahahaha!

        • by ubrgeek ( 679399 )
          Couldn't you just embed it in the browser binary itself? For now they care about where the browser goes more than the person at the keyboard.
        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Does anybody know (or at least want to take a guess) how this shit's supposed to work? How do you store this unique ID without using cookies, or something that works just like cookies?

          First, Google owns the ad networks - the vast majority of them, anyhow.

          So what Google does is when you download a page using Google's ad networks, Google takes their cookie that identifies you (either anonymously, or named, if you use Google+/Google ID), and translates that to a number, probably by hashing it. Google then pass

    • by StripedCow ( 776465 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @09:27PM (#44909239)

      Article doesn't say much about how the new ID is supposed to work.

      They closely cooperate with the NSA. It's all give and take.

    • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @09:33PM (#44909269)

      Anonymous identifier.

      Let's just say that repeatedly until the problem sinks into all of our brains.

      • They don't know who you are. They can put together a pretty good picture, but they don't have a name, address, phone number, or photo of you.

        Not sure what your point is here. You are going to be tracked, and what you like and/or do will be revealed. Just like today.

        They will be able to say that user 6865 dislikes Republicans, owns several Playstation products, lives in America, and has been posting on slashdot for 15 years. Demonstrates slight paranoid tendencies and distrust of authority. Between 35 a

        • People are traced back to their real life identities from their online postings all the time. Unless you avoid social media and give out very, very little information on your location you can be identified pretty easy.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Seumas ( 6865 )

          It is common knowledge that advertising data miners can determine with startling accuracy the identity of an individual with only a few accumulated pieces of correlated information referenced against a large commercial database of activity. This provides a further consistent identifier to tie all those strings together, while giving the impression that the identifier is to prevent identification. This is not about what they can conclude about your identity just from one website unto itself.

          • Your comment was "Anonymous identifier. Let's just say that repeatedly until the problem sinks into all of our brains."

            The moment you log in to FaceBook or Google+ with your real name, it ceases to be an anonymous identifier to FaceBook or Google. I get that. And data mining can take an online identity and find a real person. But it has to be a combination of personal information that you volunteer plus that ID to stop being anonymous.

            I still argue that anonymous identifier, by itself, is not the proble

        • They don't know who you are. They can put together a pretty good picture, but they don't have a name, address, phone number, or photo of you.

          That is one hell of a naive or uninformed perspective. There are these amazing things called relational databases full of lovely tables overflowing with easily-queried nuggets of yummy identifiable customer goodness.

          Do you for one moment think your utility company, ISP, your social media site, health insurer, and our wonderful government don't share easily cross-referenced data? Hell, Lexisnexis knows more about you than your mom.

          What color is the sky in "they"s world, or yours for that matter?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by 0ld_d0g ( 923931 )

          >They don't know who you are.

          Thats untill you login to any email id or other online account with your real name from the same IP enough times to form a link between the "anonymous" ID and the "real" ID.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Seriously who cares how they label the privacy invasion just stop doing it, it's very annoying. I am sick of adds targeting products I have just purchased, a really seriously annoying idea, now who was the idiot who thought it was a good idea ie search for product, find what your after and for weeks there in after get adds for it, why, what is the purpose?

        Just align adds with the content, it is by far less jarring and honestly will produce the most positive response and the most likely click link reactio

        • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 21, 2013 @03:30AM (#44910389) Journal

          THIS is why I'm against it as not only does it rob you of privacy but it DOESN'T EVEN WORK when it comes to targeting ads so its fucking pointless!

          The first time the whole "targeted ads" became a big thing I set up a browser at the shop with ZERO blocking, just so I could see if it actually worked. the results? Its actually WORSE than just picking ads based on what site they are on! For examples when my laptop was getting long in the tooth I decided to get an AMD netbook (as I had tried the Atom and it was painfully slow) so i did a little research and then for nearly 8 months I got nothing but ads for netbooks, long after I had quit searching for netbooks because i had bought one! My nephews use the shop PC only ONCE to find a release date for a game? i got console ads non stop for months, my mom when she came by the shop does a search to find out when the next book in a series comes out? Ditto.

          The sad part is when i blocked all the "targeting" the ads got BETTER because they had only what site i was on to go for! As someone who works retail this whole thing just baffles the shit out of me, basic common sense says if I'm reading an article about SSDs you should show me ads for...drumroll...SSDs! How hard is that? Instead I got ads for car insurance, cell phones, anything and everything EXCEPT what I was fricking reading about and thus shown I had interest in! The only one I have seen do it with any skill at all is Amazon with their "well people that looked at this often buy that, would you like to see that?" and a good 9 times out of 10 yes i WOULD like to see that, as its actually relevant to what I'm fricking looking at!

          This is why I'll block this crap just like I've blocked third party adverts, not because i give a crap if the ad company knows I'm pricing C2D chips for an upgrade for a customer but because the crap doesn't work. in a way it reminds me of the old MSN Search...anybody remember how badly that thing would guess? I'd have just done three searches looking for data storage so you would think when I typed in "D" it would give me data storage as the top option, right? instead it was like word salad, it would spew out "dog, delivery, dollar bills, duck ala orange!" and that is just what the targeted ads do only worse, as it'll ignore what I'm actively looking for and instead either give me ads for something I bought last year or ads for some stupid little thing I looked at once 6 months ago and promptly quit caring about. This entire thing is just dumb, doesn't increase the likelihood of getting a sale, and is generally a giant waste of time.

          • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

            for nearly 8 months I got nothing but ads for netbooks, long after I had quit searching for netbooks because i had bought one!

            I don't care for advertising much, so I just love those.
            I constantly get ads for the new television I bought a few months ago and every once in a while I click on the ad to ensure I don't get other ads that might lure me into wasting money on products I don't already have.

            • Lure you? How?
              Online advertisements are the complete opposite of "enticing", they have no creativity, no catchy jingles, and they don't even advertise stuff available in your country (if you aren't from the US). A far cry from what used to be professional marketing.

              • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

                And yet if they didn't work, they wouldn't exist.

                • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

                  Ahh, yes, but in reality who are those adds really targeted at, the buyer or the seller. If you think about it, who do you really want to see the adds targeted at, the seller or the buyer. If you target the seller, they always see their add, in their ignorance they think this is fantastic, their add is always on line, woo hoo, and they continue to pay for them. So targeted adds one great big marketing scam targeted at the sellers, why, because it is automated. Actually aligning adds with content cost money

          • Totally agree.

            On the same note, Google's ads (that go along the search results) are often very useful. So much that I unblocked those in ABP.

            I have used Google Ads myself to advertise. Click-through rates of ads on their homepage are like 100 times greater than those on their "affiliate network". Difference is to such an extent that I suspect that most of the clicks on the "affiliate network" are accidental... those click-through rates were like 0.01% or so.

            • Sorry but I block those, after all the crap we have learned about how much data Google is hanging onto and their bugging the piss out of me to use my real name everywhere (gotten bad enough I keep a separate browser just for YouTube) I wouldn't allow a Google ad if you paid me and I switched to bing for search. I figure i don't have a MSFT email and a good 90% of my searches are work related so less data to track.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Garridan ( 597129 )
      This allows google and those who advertise with them to keep tracking despite the cookie legislation in europe. "Do no evil" is, yet again, looking more and more like "only do evil that can be veiled as altruism".
      • by Seumas ( 6865 )

        Ultimately, internet advertising is a long-running scam that people will catch on to. People were sold a bunch of bullshit about the glory of advertising online. Scamsters tried to sell advertisers on the wonders of targeted demographics, precise statistics, interactivity, etc. The truth turned out to be that the statistics are meaningless, because they're often gamed and click-bot farms are abundantly scamming bucks off the advertisers. It also turned out that the interactivity didn't add anything to the i

    • by johanw ( 1001493 )

      Seems like trackingblockers like Ghostery will need an update.

    • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

      If the tracking is done in such a way that it is impossible to know who is being tracked, then I have no problem with this. If on the other hand your "Ad-ID" can be linked to your IP at any point in time (and it is hard me to envision how this could not be the case), then to me it's just another form of cookie and I don't see how it is different at all.

    • maybe its just supposed to work like ceci n'est pas un cookie and screw the whole law about no cookies without consent
      or maybe not
      but would it be a cookie by law if its not a cookie at all ? maybe they should sell it like that to the ad industry, yes google sure, i need about $25k after that im sure i can fix the rest myself, feel free to donate
      right ... trippin .. sorry
  • by Anonymous Coward

    You spelled AIDS wrong.

  • by Joining Yet Again ( 2992179 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @08:34PM (#44908915)

    If it were concerned about giving consumers "more privacy" on a scale unprecedented in human history, in terms of reducing the amount of data stored about them, it could simply... wipe its hard drives and close its business.

    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @10:00PM (#44909385) Homepage Journal
      This is certainly a ploy to compete with Facebook and the like. Right now Facebook has probably has more tracking cookies set in more machines than google. I know that I don't allow facebook cookies, but I have also been more restrictive on the Google cookies, simply because they are not providing as many services. Facebook will win on the cookies front. Google need a proprietary technology to lock advertisers into Google.
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      the way it's easy to get targeted advertising wrong makes me wonder if they would get better advertising with completely random ads.

      you see, if you get it wrong then you will not get a single click on an advert. with totally random there's at least a chance at a click, but I ain't going to buy silicon boobs even if I googled for big boobs.

      this adid thing though.. how is it different than cookies except that google gets all the data?

      • Probably, I use self-destructing cookies on any and all cookies that are installed on my computer. Most of them are deleted the moment I leave the website, a few that I really need, are allowed to persist until I close the browser, and only one or two is allowed to remain after I close the browser. Most of the time, I wind up with random ads, assuming I get them at all.

        I can't recall the last time I actually clicked on one of those links, and I don't think I've ever bought anything as a result of one of tho

    • The ads that target my search terms, are often quite relevant to me. It advertises goods or services that I happen to be interested in there and then. And if I'm indeed looking for commercial results, possibly after looking for reviews and other information on a product, good chance I'll click them.

      And no need for invasive privacy. They don't really need to know my age or anything - just my location. And that they can see from my IP address. And if looking for highly local services like a restaurant around

      • I ignored the first paragraph as you sounded like an advert for a marketing company. All that can be done without having a system of charging people per listing or per click, where people who pay more get better placed, and the recording and auditing is done by the same company which performs the brokering.

        As for the second paragraph, true enough. Although the more they know about "you", the more likely they can choose a set of ads which you're likely to click on - they do it because it works, not to amuse

  • Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 20, 2013 @08:36PM (#44908919)

    Now how do i block them?

    • Install Firefox. And if Firefox adopts it, patch and rebuild it.
      • Install Firefox. And if Firefox adopts it, patch and rebuild it.

        This. Google can develop all of the proprietary shit it likes, but if it only works in Chrome then all they will manage to to is kill Chrome in the marketplace.

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @08:36PM (#44908923)

    ...The new AdID supposedly gives consumers more privacy and control over their web browsing...

    I'll disable tracking by default. And Google should take my "threat" as guaranteed. I am not alone I know.

    • Might be quite hard to do if they're sneaky enough. Let's better disable all requests to tracking and ad servers altogether.

      Which differs from current only sane state... how?

    • by pla ( 258480 )
      I'll disable tracking by default. And Google should take my "threat" as guaranteed. I am not alone I know.


      At first glance, "anonymous" tracking sounds like an ideal compromise. We get to support websites we visit, without giving up our privacy in the process... Right?

      Now drop this dream-scenario into the real world. Google intends to provide a way to globally, uniquely identify "you", anonymously. That works juuust fine - Until you give someone's "partner" (like Amazon, NewEgg, Expedia, etc)
    • I guess ABP will take care of this one before it's released. So nothing to worry about.

  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @09:02PM (#44909077) Homepage

    Oh goodie! Another ID number to protect my privacy!
    Can get AdID #1?
    I want to be the first and most anonymous.


  • by kawabago ( 551139 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @09:02PM (#44909081)
    They are always trying to sell me things I looked at but decided I didn't want, or things I already have. They seem to wait till I buy something, then try to sell me more of that. How many potato peelers do they expect me to buy?
    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      Pretty much this.

      I don't actually have a problem with advertising in general.. it just seems to really suck. Only time I ever really click on an ad is when the ad is so out there that I just have to know what they are selling (which I know is a tactic, but when they get me with it I figure they've earned my eyes for a minute or two).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't actually have a problem with advertising in general.. it just seems to really suck.

        That's because you still think you can separate the act of advertising from the type of person who is attracted to the profession and desires to perform this sort of spying, deception, and manipulation.

        Once you realize this kind of reductionism is a self-limitation, you will understand how and why it sucks and why it's not going to be fixed. Advertising, marketing, and PR as we know them today are concepts that cannot be reformed. They are flawed and exploitative and easily abused at their core. No am

      • I don't actually have a problem with advertising in general.. it just seems to really suck.

        If it sucked, or weren't effective, or gathered no sales, or just in general didn't work, it would not be a billions of dollars industry. You are probably not one of the common sheeple who follow predictable patterns. You don't fit the model, so they fall back on the potato peeler you bought.

        I have several plugins to discourage tracking, and I get the most ridiculous nonsense, for the lowest common denominator. "W

      • by Dodgy G33za ( 1669772 ) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @01:05AM (#44910031)

        I don't actually have a problem with advertising in general.

        I do. At least the billboard / banner headline compete for eyeballs sort of stuff. Pre-Internet I can see that it had its place in letting people know that products existed. But now there are a plethora of ways that people can get their product known, so it is just one of those pointless activities that the rest of us have to pay for wrapped up in the product we buy, for no added value.

        Which is why I block the hell out off all advertising. When I want to buy something, I research and make my choice. When I am not buying I want products to keep the fuck out of my face.

    • Ugh, I know! I tried actually emailing the companies hosting the ads about this. I really just want an "I bought this already!" button that makes that particular ad go away. It could even then show a link to allow me to review the product that I already bought. They're wasting their time trying to get me to buy the same thing over and over again.
      • That's a good idea. More generally, "stop showing me ads for this, I'm not going to buy it (or don't care to have it show up where other people might see it on my screen). That would be a win-win for consumers and advertisers.

        I don't care for the fact that advertisers have a profile of me, but I do like seeing ads that might actually interest me. eBay does a good job of showing me listings I might want to look at.

    • How many potato peelers do they expect me to buy?

      One for yourself each time the one you bought for yourself wears out, and one for each of your friends. You aren't so selfish that you'd buy yourself a potato peeler and not buy one for you best buddies, are you? How do you expect them to peel their potatoes? Do you do the peeling for them?

    • by Tom ( 822 )

      See, they are only thinking of you when they ask you for access to all your private data, because if they only knew you already have 7, they can stop trying to sell you more. It's for your benefit. Really...

  • Advertising ID? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @09:05PM (#44909099) Journal
    I thought cookies were for storing session independent settings, not for advertising.
  • Ads and Trackers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by utkonos ( 2104836 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @09:36PM (#44909283)
    I haven't seen ads or trackers for a very long time. Every once in a blue moon one slips through my combination of AdBlock and Ghostery, but I always report it so they can add it to the block list. All I see is a little number representing how many cooties were blocked for the page I'm on. Hopefully everyone does something like this and the commercial internet dries up and withers away.
  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @09:41PM (#44909315)

    I'll stick with no-script and private browsing mode. I'm sorry if you are making a living on advertising revenue but your revenue stream has basically come down to invasive douchenozzeling and I haven't any use for that. Go put up a billboard, maybe I'll drive by it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You don't understand private browsing mode. It does not make you private on the Web. It only (unsuccessfully) attempts to clean up your browser histroy to provide privacy from your spouse/children/parents.

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      A small minority can get away with blocking ads, like of like how anti-vax people can get away with no getting vaccinated, but if the majority did it, it messes things up. Obviously not a perfect analogy.
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @09:45PM (#44909327) Journal

    On the one hand. I have Google. On the other hand, I have the ad industry.

    Eww, let me go wash my hands.

  • If I have to sign into google in order to create and/or manage the adID, then it is not anonymous.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    so its like a uuid number
    they will probably need us to login with our "google id" before they can generate a lasting number
    otherwise we can just change the number
    here is a option
    ---------->find out somebody elses "google id" # and circulate it amongst a group
    --------->everyone changes thier number to that single id #
    --------->PROFIT !!


  • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @10:50PM (#44909589)

    ...would stink as bad. So all it really is is a cookie that's completely controlled by Google. Well played Google, well played.

  • Google wants to give us Anonymous IDentifiers.
    Yay for AIDS!
  • by FuzzNugget ( 2840687 ) on Friday September 20, 2013 @10:59PM (#44909653)
    It's like giving your computer AIDS.
  • but the ad industry is worried about putting more power in the hands of large technology companies

    I guess they'd be the ones to know how sleazy an industry can be.

  • That switches them with other plugin users making them useless.
  • I've been surfing with ad blocking so long I sometimes forget the Internet is plastered with ads. I'm teaching my kids that any device showing ads is broken (TV, tablet, computer, you name it) because well, it is.
  • I logged on to YouTube today it said I appear to be logging in from an "unusual location" (e.g. same IP I've used for years) please give us your telephone number so we can verify you.

    Unless someone can explain how providing information I never gave them in the first place (and will never provide) can possibly serve to verify my YouTube account the motive for this was never "For your protection" as stated it was to get more information about my identity..spun into a big fat LIE.

    I have long since lost any tru

  • One thing Google has never studied is whether or not there's a market for an ad-supported dildo. Increasingly, everything else they do is about equally as appealing.
  • I've got every ad server I've identified pointed at my own dummy pixel server because I kinda like pages to paint instantly instead of taking forever for doubleclick or edgewhatever (jeez, I haven't seen them in so long I've started to forget their names) to get around to sending something I don't want. Am I the only one doing that?

  • by Anonymous Coward


  • Always, always follow the money.

    Googles main business is selling ads. So who will profit from this?

  • This just makes it too easy, too easy to turn off AdID or install a plugin which truly muddies the waters by giving back a random AdID every time it is requested.

    It's much harder to turn cookies off because of all the functionality they provide. AdIDs on the other hand - no functionality for us.

  • I found a new sequel to a series I had read.

    Google led me to Smashwords. I read some free, then bought
    unencumbered epub,pdb,mobi,txt. Credit card or paypal.

    Devoured it and next day bought 3 more.
    Now have a library in Smashwords, reviewed one.
    I think there might be a coupon for reviewers.

    Google should:
    Buy a bank.
    Beat visa and paypal out on the net.

    Get a percentage for introduction.
    Stop the ads, or offer no ads but another1% margin.

    Integrate better with all common pos systems,
    or sell own. Show recommendations

  • Be very careful. I am watching you.

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!