Many sites use analytics tools to measure their site insights. Google Analytics is an extremely popular tool in this sector as it is free (though there is a paid version for enterprise use but the free one is what most people use).
Google is an ads company and 80% of its revenue is generated by targeting ads to the right users. For this Google needs to know a lot about one and Google Analytics plays a vital role as it is widely used allowing Google to track more and more users around the web. One might also want to keep their privacy intact and not want the website owner to know about their activity on the site. Website owners usually use analytics to measure views, engagement, traffic source, etc. If you don't want the website owner to know this, you need to stop their analytics service from tracking you.
Well, there is a solution to this issue, that is, opting out from Google Analytics.
How do you do that?
There is a browser extension that one can install to opt-out of Google Analytics.
So who made this?
Surprisingly it is Google who has made this browser extension!!!
So how do you get it installed?
The extension is surprisingly available for not only Chrome but also Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari so it is just a matter of downloading it from their respective extension stores.
For Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or any chromium based browser (Brave, Vivaldi, etc.), you can download it from the chrome web store - chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/empty-tit..
I couldn't find how to download it for Safari though as I don't have a mac. If any of you find it, feel free to leave a comment with the link in the comments section.
For Firefox you need to go to the official site for the extension and click the blue button.
This will redirect you to the EULA page for the extension from where you can accept the EULA and then you will be prompted to download a .xpi (a compressed installation archive used by various Mozilla applications. Learn more about it here) file. Once you have downloaded it, just open the file (you can open it from the file explorer or through the downloads menu from within Firefox itself. Now you will be prompted with a popup in the browser asking you to add the extension. Click the Add button to install the extension.
That is it!!! You have now successfully added the Google Analytics opt-out browser extension and have opted out of Google from tracking you around the internet.
Does it work?
You might ask me if this really works and in my experience and testing, it does. My blog on Hashnode uses Google Analytics and hence it was the perfect candidate for me to test upon. I installed the extension and visited my blog. The real-time users count in my Google Analytics dashboard saw no increase but when I visited the same site from a guest window, the real-time users count increased by 1 showing the extension does indeed work.
There are two very important things to keep in mind -
- This extension only opts you out of Google Analytics so other trackers on the site can still track you.
- The fact that this extension is made by Google and hence we don't really know what Google is really doing.
I have also noticed that the official site for the extension looks quite outdated and even the chrome web store page seems to not have been updated in a while. The extension is also using a really old version of the Google logo. Despite this, the extension has been updated recently, that is, the 26th of January 2021. Now that is still over 6 months ago but there is no real reason to update such an extension unless there is a change in how Google Analytics opt-out works so it seems fine to me.
That is it for this tutorial!!!