News In Brief

Browser add-on sounds alarm when Google is watching

Kai Ryssdal Jul 28, 2010

Here’s a little something we came across while surfing around the web this morning. It’s an extension for your Internet browser called Google Alarm, and when installed it lets you know when your personal data is being sent to Google servers, which is basically all the time.

It’s common activity on websites (including ours) to track users’ web habits, like what they click on and how long they stay on a page. Google has helped make a big industry out of this data mining, and Stacey Vanek-Smith’s recent series on data mining reveals a lot more about what happens to all this data.

We decided to give the new Firefox add-on a try here in our studios. We’re working on a quick video demonstration for the show this afternoon. In the meantime, here’s a video from the developers of the app.

Google Alarm Demonstration from Marketplace on Vimeo.

Here’s a link to a place to download the add on. It’s available with our without sound. Maybe they should make another version that sounds like a vuvuzela horn.

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