Hide browsing data from Google with GoogleSharing, a Firefox add-on

by: Bradley Wint on April 21st, 2010 at 9:21 am

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If you are a user of Google’s search engine, but still want to retain your browsing privacy, here is a new tool which assists in that. GoogleSharing, a Firefox add-on, was developed so browsers who are not logged in to Google’s network can use public tools like the general, new or image search without having to give up their browsing information. When users (not logged in) hit a Google service page that doesn’t require a log in, the program will activate by sending your data via a secured proxy network. Also it withholds your personal information held in cookies, and then sends a fake cookie to Google’s server (filled with bogus and useless data).

The script turns your browsing session (on Google sites alone) into a local secure session via SSL and then sends the fake but valid cookie to Google, making the search seem legit. When Google gets the request, it will then send the response to the proxy network which is then ported to you, leaving your browsing history private. This means Google won’t be able to log your real IP address, browser and system type, search query and more.

Unlike other script blockers and filters, it doesn’t fake your entire session, so Google is duped into thinking the browser’s session is legitimate rather than being purposely falsified. This will help in keeping the streamlined browsing process uninterrupted.

With regards to the proxy servers, it seems anyone can set up a GoogleSharing server, which would assist in multiplying the network’s strength, but on the flip side, they also have access to the same info Google would have gotten. I guess they would still do it for the greater good of keeping search info private from Google.

Google has in place a custom page to change privacy settings, but many users still complain that they are not doing enough and key data is still being collected, most times unknowingly.

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