Don't let the Web bugs bite

See who's keep tabs on your Internet activity with this useful tool.

We hear a lot of about companies who track our Internet use and gather data about us as consumers, but who exactly are these companies, and what are they doing with this information? Ghostery (Chrome) can tell you exactly that. This Chrome extension will let you know who's monitoring your activity on every Web site you visit. It's a little creepy, but it's also a good thing to be aware of.

Like most Chrome extensions, Ghostery installs easily. We liked the fact that the extension immediately took us through a brief setup wizard, which allowed us to opt into and out of several features. Ghostery works by identifying Web bugs, which are tiny, usually invisible elements embedded in Web sites that collect information about user behavior. Users can enable GhostRank, which allows Ghostery to collect information about the Web bugs that you encounter. Ghostery also has an experimental blocking feature, which lets users block up to 275 different bugs. Ghostery's main feature, however, is its ability to display exactly which Web bugs are active on every site that you visit. Every time you navigate to a new site, Ghostery will display a small pop-up window at the top of your browser that lists the Web bugs it's found. On the New York Times Web site, for example, Ghostery identified Google AdSense, WebTrends, PointRoll, ChartBeat, Facebook Connect, and Comscorn Beacon. Users can click on More Info next to any one of these to access a description on Ghostery's Web site. Ghostery doesn't have a Help file per se, but it's easy to use, and its Web site has a useful FAQ. Overall, we think that Ghostery provides an important service. We should all be aware of who's keeping tabs on our Internet activity, and Ghostery is an easy way to stay informed.

Ghostery (Chrome) installs and uninstalls without issues. We highly recommend this extension to all users.

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