Do Not Track has gone from a Mozilla proposal to industry standard in a short amount of time. Even Microsoft got behind it as did most advertisers, in the US at least. One holdout though was Google.
Granted, as the biggest ad network out there, it is understandable why it was reluctant and why it could afford to take a different stance than everyone else.
But because Google was so big, its position of not supporting Do Not Track was a big hurdle for the technology.
Still, Google eventually promised to start supporting Do Not Track
and has now finally
built the feature into the latest Chrome builds, technically Chromium.
The idea to implement the DNT header in Chrome has been around for a long time, but Google has only now gotten around to it. Still, it's going to be a while before it makes its way into the stable channel.
The option to turn DNT on in Chrome should be landing in the dev channel in the next update, within a few days. Which means it's going to be part of Chrome 23, which will arrive in the stable channel sometime towards the end of the year.
Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer 10 and Opera all support DNT at this point. If it's any good is another matter. DNT has its problems in that it creates a false sense of security.
By itself, setting DNT to "true" doesn't do anything, it just signals to websites and advertisers that you don't want to be tracked. But they have to decide whether to respect that. There's no way to enforce DNT, there's not even a way to check whether it's being followed or not.
There's some controversy about DNT
, Microsoft has decided to go against the draft specs
and make DNT the default in Windows 8/Internet Explorer 10
. Users can turn it off if they want, but the specs say that the default state of DNT is "unset" which indicates that users have not made any choice.
In fact, disabling DNT, i.e. sending a DNT header to "0", i.e. the user is OK with being tracked, is optional, the only two mandatory settings are "unset" and "1". Microsoft forces users to choose between "1" and "0" with no option of leaving it "unset".