[Greasemonkey] Google question

Aaron Boodman zboogs at gmail.com
Mon Aug 22 16:53:07 EDT 2005


Good starting point?

http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~james/greasemonkey/hide-google-redirects.user.js

On 8/22/05, Brendan Crosser-McGay <verifex at gmail.com> wrote:
> That is weird, I thought google has been doing this for a long time.  Since
> when was this new news?  Its true they have been masking the fact that it
> was redirecting to google, but is there something new about this?  I thought
> that the whole basis behind how they can track links at all was based upon
> the "link-back" system, and I thought that they have been using that since
> forever.
> 
> 
> On 8/22/05, Michael Bierman <greasemonkey at thebiermans.net > wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > Has anyone seen this blog entry
> http://mboffin.com/post.aspx?id=1830 about what Google is
> doing to their links?   
> > 
> >   
> > 
> > Sounds like great time for a userscript.  Comments? 
> > 
> >   
> > 
> > From BoingBoinng: 
> > 
> >   
> > 
> > Cory Doctorow: There's some very subtle clickthrough tracking going on at
> Google. Just before you click on a link on a search-results page, at the "on
> mousedown" event, Google rewrites the links in its search results with a
> long redirector URL that is presumably being used to track which search
> results are being selected most often. 
> > 
> > For example, the first search result for a Google search for Boing Boing
> is listed as "boingboing.net/". If you hover your mouse over the link on the
> results page, the status-bar in your browser displays the link URL as
> "http://boingboing.net". However, if you right-click on the link and copy
> the link location, it is revealed to actually be
> "http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=1&
> url=http%3A//boingboing.net/&ei=U4gJQ6_fBqKiQevXjYIO" (it
> will probably be a slightly different URL for you). 
> > 
> > I have no doubt that most of Google's intended uses for this are
> beneficial to Google users. For example, Google can use this to refine its
> search results based on which links Google users click most often. 
> > 
> > However, there is a grave privacy implication here, especially when
> coupled with Google's never-expiring cookie: this new (?) practice means
> that Google now has a record not just of all the searches you performed, but
> potentially of all the links you've clicked through on its site. 
> > 
> > It may be that Google is simply tracking click-throughs and not
> associating them with users, but it sure doesn't look like it. Look at the
> letter-salad at the end of the real URL there: "U4gJQ6_fBqKiQevXjYIO". That
> looks like a unique identifier to me -- if all Google cares about is which
> result is most popular with searchers, there'd be no reason to uniquely
> identify each click. 
> > 
> > At the end of the day, the thing about this that bugs me is that it is
> stealthy and non-transparent to the user. If my search-engine is collecting
> info on every click I make on its site, I want to know that. Further, I want
> to know what it's doing with that information. 
> > 
> > I hope Google will release more info on this today. Link (Thanks, Dylan!) 
> > 
> > Read more 
> > 
> >   
> > _______________________________________________
> > Greasemonkey mailing list
> > Greasemonkey at mozdev.org
> > http://mozdev.org/mailman/listinfo/greasemonkey
> > 
> > 
> > 
> 
>  
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> 
>


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