When it comes to tracking web users across the web, no one does it more than Google and Facebook.
Those two companies filled out the top five spots in Evidon’s Global Tracker Report, which was released on Tuesday. The report uses data from the 1.6 million users of Evidon’s Ghostery web browser plugin, which monitors what tracking scripts/tags/etc. are installed on web pages.
Evidon’s data shows that Google products are Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 8 (DoubleClick), as well as No. 17 overall (AdWords). Facebook, meanwhile, has the 3rd and 5th most-prolific trackers.
(Image via PC World)
It should be no surprise that Google Analytics is the No. 1 tracker, given that it’s far and away the web’s most popular analytics software. Google has said more than 10 million websites use Google Analytics, but that’s a conservative number compared to what others have estimated.
Google has taken privacy-related hits recently, thanks to the “Cookiegate” incident with Apple’s Safari browser and the admission that some Google employees knew that its Street View cars were intentionally collecting personal data over open Wi-Fi networks.
Facebook, meanwhile, was hit with a $15 billion privacy lawsuit just as it went public last month — a suit that claims Facebook tracked users even after they had logged out of their Facebook accounts.
Twitter ranks sixth on Evidon’s list and, while the company is consistently launching new products and features that rely on personalization, it also recently announced support for the Do Not Track initiative. Google has also announced plans to support Do Not Track in its Chrome web browser by the end of this year.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently published a privacy report card that included Google, Facebook, Twitter and other online companies/services. Both Twitter and Google scored highly; Facebook did not.