Blog Post

Google on defensive yet again in snafu over ad-tracking in Safari browsers

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) continues to find itself in compromising positions in 2012, the latest coming after an investigation by The Wall Street Journal (NSDQ: NWS) found that the company was tricking Apple’s Safari browsers on the iPhone and the Mac into dropping their ad-tracking protections in order to promote Google+.

The report shows that Google inserted code into display ads shown by its DoubleClick subsidiary that got around the default setting in Safari that prevents cookies—the basic building block of Web advertising—from being installed on computers and letting ad companies track your movements across the Internet in order to show you ads they believe are relevant to your interests. Safari makes an exception for Web sites that ask you to submit a form, allowing them to install cookies. Google simply added code to certain ads that mimicked a form submission in order to determine whether Safari browsers were also logged into Google+ so that those users could “+1” ads and share them with their Google+ contacts.