Ghostery has been offering desktop browser plugins for years, letting users see what tracking scripts are running on a page. This lets you know about ads, analytics, social widgets, and other tools running on the websites you visit. You can also block some or all of those scripts.
Now Ghostery has launched a mobile version: but it’s not a plugin. It’s a complete web browser.
Ghostery Privacy Browser is a free web browser for Android devices.
Like the desktop service, Ghostery Privacy Browser places an icon in the toolbar that shows you how many scripts are running on each page you visit. Tap that icon and you’ll see more details about those scripts… as well as check boxes which you can toggle to block or allow those trackers.
You can also open the browser’s settings and choose to block or enable all trackers by default, choose whether to block cookies, clear your browser history, change your search engine (the default is Duck Duck Go, but you can also use Google, Bing, Yahoo, or others), and toggle support for popups and auto-complete, among other things.
You can also opt-in to Ghostrank, a feature which shares data about the trackers you encounter. That data is anonymized and used to create reports which Ghostery sells to support its consumer-oriented privacy products.
As far as basic web browsing features, Ghostery uses Google’s Android WebView feature so it renders pages pretty much the same way Google Chrome does. The browser supports tabs, bookmarks, and sharing. But overall the user interface and non privacy-oriented features are pretty basic.
I think “Gogole” should be “Google” in the fisrt paragraph after the second large image.
It is amazing how much faster some pages load on my phone when I am using Firefox for Android with Ghostery installed. It probably reduces my overall data usage too, which is great for those of us that regularly get close to our data caps.
Ghostery is owned by Evidon, a company that collects and provides data to advertising companies. It has a feature called GhostRank that you can check to “support” them. The problem is, Ghostery blocks sites from gathering personal information on you-but Ghostrank will take note the ads you encounter and which ones you block, and sends that information back to advertisers so they can better formulate their ads to avoid being blocked.
Formulating ads to avoid being blocked might been making the ads more difficult to block, but it might also mean creating ads that are less annoying. No advertiser wants to create ads that no one will click on. In that sense, it doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. And surely better than the extortion racket that the AdBlocker folks use.
NB ghostery has been available as an extension for Android’s Firefox for a long time!
Tried it. . . crashes whenever I try to enter the settings menu. Hope they get things worked out. Far too many sites have become massively bloated with unnecessary calls maybe this will help.
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