Firefox Add-on of the Week: GoogleSharing

TheMurph

If you're a privacy nut--or even someone who's the least bit concerned about the kind of information that Google might be collecting from you--then it's in your best interest to do everything possible to shield your browsing activities from The Man. Whoever "The Man" might be, that is. Anyway, this is relatively easy to do if you're keen with the technique of running proxies, blocking cookies, and stripping all other identifying characteristics out of your Web traffic. It's nevertheless quite a bit of work to undertake if you're even a semi-frequent Web browser.

The Firefox add-on GoogleSharing aims to simplify the process of rendering yourself invisible to the big G, and it kicks into effect every time you fire up your browser to begin a new surfing session. Here's how it works. The high-level GoogleSharing "network," as it were, consists of a large pool of browser User-Agents organized behind a large Web proxy. Whenever GoogleSharing detects that Google is trying to request some piece of information from your system, the add-on automatically redirects this request to the large batch of potential identities behind the proxy. One of these is substituted in place of your actual identifying information, and you continue your browsing session unhindered--and untraced--by anything Google.

With multiple users each selecting from a rotating batch of identities, it becomes rather mind-numbing for Google to try and pinpoint a specific user's identity or browsing characteristics. That's not to say that Google actually does that. However, if you're worried about the information collection abilities of Google across any of its free services, then GoogleSharing is a great first step in rendering yourself fairly anonymous to the company's requests. And if that's not enough for you, you could always check our Tor...

Maximum PC picks one new Firefox add-on as its favorite of the week each... week. Have a nifty extension that you can't live without? Twitter David Murphy @acererak with your latest suggestions.

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