Microsoft’s Edge browser is built on the same open source code as Google Chrome. But Ed Bott, writing for ZDNet, noticed something interesting:
On January 15, 2020, Microsoft is scheduled to roll out a completely revamped Edge browser to the general public. That browser, which is available for beta testing now on all supported versions of Windows and MacOS, includes a feature called Tracking Prevention. If that name sounds familiar, you’re not imagining things. Microsoft added a Tracking Protection feature to Internet Explorer 9, back in 2011; it used simple text files called Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs) to allow or block third-party requests from specific domains. That’s the same general principle behind Tracking Prevention in the new Edge, but the implementation is more usable and more sophisticated, with multiple Trust Protection Lists taking the place of a single TPL.
I’ve spent the past week looking closely at this feature… [A]lthough it’s aimed at the online advertising and tracking industries in general, my tests suggest that its effects are likely to be felt most directly by one company: Google.
Using the default Balanced setting, Tracking Prevention blocked a total of 2,318 trackers, or an average of 35 on each page. Of that total, 552 were from Google domains. That’s a mind-boggling 23.8% of the total. To put that into perspective, the second entry on the list of blocked trackers was Facebook, which represented 3.8% of the total.
Rather than an anti-Google conspiracy, the article suggests this is instead just a reflection of both Google’s ubiquity and its business model.
“Google Analytics and Google AdSense are embedded on a staggering number of web pages.”