Google announced today a downloadable browser plug-in that blocks its own Google Analytics from sending user data back to the Google Analytics database. The software is available for all major browsers except Apple Safari.
Google Analytics is a service offered to web site owners for monitoring and analyzing traffic to their sites. For example, it shows how many visitors, how long they stayed on which pages, and what external sites people linked from.
In its announcement, Google pointed out that Google Analytics doesn't collect actual personal information, or data attributed to individuals. Nevertheless, some users have complained, and Google is responding to those complaints by offering an opt-out option.
Google also announced another feature that enables web site owners who use Google Analytics to capture only part of visitors' IP addresses for geographic reports.
For web site owners, the new plug-in probably won't significantly degrade the value of Google Analytics. The reason is that users don't really care about this stuff, only a vocal minority. You can be sure that the vast majority of web users will never download this plug-in.
Will you use the new plug-in?