Have you seen Google login pop-ups in your browser? They may seem helpful, but logging in actually gives your consent to be tracked. DuckDuckGo just released Google Sign-in Pop-up Protection to block these pop-ups from apps and their extensions.
In addition to being a privacy-focused search engine, DuckDuckGo also offers an email service, as well as a mobile app and an extension where it modifies your browser and protects your data. A standalone web browser is also in the works, currently in beta and only available for macOS.
The company announced on Twitter, that all Chrome, Firefox, Brave, and Microsoft Edge browser apps and extensions will now actively block Google login prompts displayed on websites.
Google offers this sign-in option to websites to allow users to quickly sign in to new platforms using their Google Account, for convenience and unified control.
Simply put, instead of having to create new accounts and manage multiple passwords across multiple sites, users can simply sign in to Google when the option is available and skip the hassle.
The downside of this practice for users is that the websites and apps users connect to can be tracked by Google.
While Google explicitly states, “Data from Sign In With Google is not used for advertising or other non-security purposes,” DuckDuckGo says their tests show that Google is still collecting data.
“See our test in the attached image that shows Google collecting data on websites when connected to Google. For example, on investing.com, many requests are made to https://securepubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?.”.
“This includes the url of the full page in the request parameters. In testing, if we are not logged into the site with Google, the DSID cookie sent with these requests has a value of NO_DATA. If we are logged into the site with Google, the DSID cookie sent with these requests has a large hex value.”
“You can see it in the attached image – on the left we are connected to Google, on the right we are not connected to Google.”
As DuckDuckGo believes these are privacy risks, it has resorted to the rather aggressive approach of blocking Google login messages, never giving users the option to accept the option or not.
DuckDuckGo's new feature won't cause problems for those who use Google to sign in to websites, as this method is still available on the connected platforms' sign-in pages. However, the annoying pop-up will not appear.