Google adds 'Do Not Track' to Chrome precursor

Privacy feature support shows up in Chromium, the project that feeds code into Chrome

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Although browsers have, or will, implement DNT on their end, the crux is websites, which must enable it on their ends. Twitter is the largest online service, by far, to have implemented DNT.

A group composed of advertisers, browser makers, privacy advocates and others have yet to finalize the DNT standard. The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) standards-setting group has, however, decided that browser makers cannot set the DNT signal for users.

But a move by Microsoft has roiled the group.

In May, Microsoft announced that Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) would enable DNT by default. During Windows 8 setup, for example, DNT is automatically turned on if users accept the default settings offered during the operating system's setup. They can, however, switch it off during that setup process, or at any later time.

Google has said little publicly, but by the way it presents DNT in Chromium, it looks to be firmly in the off-by-default camp. Apple's Safari also leaves its DNT option unchecked.

Since May, members of the W3C group have debated whether websites should be required to honor IE10's on-by-default signal.

The controversy over IE10 and DNT was stirred again two weeks ago when developers of the Apache Web server software added a patch to ignore the DNT header when it is sent by IE10. According to U.K.-based Netcraft, Apache powers 55% of all active websites worldwide.

Users can download the most-recent Chromium build from this website.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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