Safari now blocks Google Analytics on sites, new Privacy Report feature shows [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
Apple's new Safari Privacy Report feature in macOS Big Sur shows that the browser now blocks Google Analytics from tracking users on websites.

The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention page in Safari for macOS Big Sur.
The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention page in Safari for macOS Big Sur.


At its WWDC 2020 keynote on Monday, Apple announced a suite of new privacy features in the macOS Big Sur version of Safari that included a new Privacy Report showing which trackers are blocked on a site.

As technology analyst Benedict Evans pointed out in a tweet, that Privacy Report indicates that Apple's Safari Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0 is now officially blocking Google Analytics.

Yes, Apple is now blocking Google Analytics entirely, even with anonymised IP. pic.twitter.com/Ypnk5T4VAn

-- Benedict Evans (@benedictevans)


It isn't clear if anything in Safari for macOS Big Sur is specifically blocking Google Analytics, or if the new Privacy Report is just showing that it has been. Apple's features macOS page doesn't offer any clarity.

Google Analytics is one of the most popular web tracking and analysis services used by millions of popular websites.

The Privacy Report and blocking of Google Analytics are just two parts of a broader push toward privacy by Apple. According to a report from December 2019, Apple's Safari Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature has resulted in a 60% decrease in pricing for targeted Safari ads.

Update: As more information has surfaced, it appears that Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) in Safari 14 is not completely blocking Google Analytics. Instead, it's blocking third-party tracking cookies and cross-site scripting requests on Google Analytics from loading. The Privacy Report feature just reflects that. It looks like first-party Google Analytics cookies aren't blocked, so it'll still function as an analytics platform.
patchythepirate

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,423member
    Yeah, saw this during the keynote. Must have caused some indigestion at Google. But what the heck, they can buy a cheap bottle of wine and commiserate with Intel on the curb outside of Apple’s spaceship campus. Welcome the the club of hangers-on who’ve overstayed their welcome due to bad behavior or ineptitude. 
    chasmSpamSandwichroundaboutnowdigitolpatchythepiratesvanstrombadmonkwilliamlondonDogpersonOfer
  • Reply 2 of 20
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,342member
    Great news. Weaning oneself off Google entirely is very difficult -- even on a Mac -- but much needed. Thanks Apple, and the fall can't come soon enough!
    patchythepiratebadmonkDogpersonGeorgeBMacOferStrangeDaysGilliam_Batesviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,956member
    Agreed - I'm sure Google will turn around and figure out a way around the blocking. So goes the game...
    williamlondonDogpersonGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    TomETomE Posts: 172member
    Well, I just hope Safari will work on my Bank's Bill Pay site.  It does not now, unless I Turn Off "Prevent Cross-Site Tracking".  FireFox works.  I guess the Bill Pay and the Bank want to have a relationship with me, the customer.
    Dogperson
  • Reply 5 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    This feature should be made available now. Why wait?
    rob53williamlondonOferwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,070member
    MplsP said:
    Agreed - I'm sure Google will turn around and figure out a way around the blocking. So goes the game...
    Actually, Google provides their very own Google Analytics blocking extension for Google Chrome based web browsers in the Chrome Web Store.

    But feel free to spout off garbage about something you apparently know nothing about.

    When you feel like taking a break, go visit the Chrome Web Store and search for "Google Analytics." You will find the first-party blocker extension there.

    Note that there are third-party developers who have also written Google Analytics-blocking extensions, not just for Google Chrome but for other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox.

    My guess is that a Pi-Hole can be configured to do the same. There are various filter list subscriptions that have done the same for almost as long as Google Analytics has been around.

    Remember that blocking this type of web traffic is not a recent development. It dates back to the Nineties -- the Internet Junkbuster era. Blocking Google Analytics is nothing new.
    edited June 2020 williamlondonCloudTalkin
  • Reply 7 of 20
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 637member
    The 9.4% of Mac Safari market share isn't going to worry Google. And only a much smaller subset of that will be using the new safari. Here's hoping that Big Sur won't be the dumpster fire that Catalina is.
    edited June 2020 williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 20
    sunman42sunman42 Posts: 273member
    michelb76 said:
    The 9.4% of Mac Safari market share isn't going to worry Google. And only a much smaller subset of that will be using the new safari. Here's hoping that Big Sur won't be the dumpster fire that Catalina is.
    Maybe it's changed in the last couple of years (I haven't been keeping track), but Safari users have traditionally been much sought after by ad purveyors and trackers, since they spend more time on high-end march websites and spend much more than users of other browsers, on average. I don't know what the 9.4% comes out to after that multiplier effect, but if you sell bling or expensive cars, you care a lot.

        What I started wondering when I saw that during the keynote was: Is there some sort of extension-like control panel for that, where individual trackers can be whitelisted, or all for a give page or site? Because if so, Ghostery just got Sherlocked, big-time.
    edited June 2020 spock1234Dogperson
  • Reply 9 of 20
    svanstromsvanstrom Posts: 702member
    MplsP said:
    Agreed - I'm sure Google will turn around and figure out a way around the blocking. So goes the game...
    https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout

    Their current opt-out program supports "Microsoft Internet Explorer 11, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Opera".

    They honestly saw all this coming about 12 parsecs away; and have just used their opt-out program to keep people happy enough long enough to 
    squeeze as much time as possible out of the good old days.
    williamlondonCloudTalkinStrangeDaysbakedbananas
  • Reply 10 of 20
    For me, It is the video ads or news that  starts running when a new webpage is loaded, which  slows  down the page render.   Safari still has them.  This is why I use Brave.  It used to be Opera is my favorite but after the news came out of a deliberate privacy breach, I switched browser. 
    Dogperson
  • Reply 11 of 20
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    For me, It is the video ads or news that  starts running when a new webpage is loaded, which  slows  down the page render.   Safari still has them.  This is why I use Brave.  It used to be Opera is my favorite but after the news came out of a deliberate privacy breach, I switched browser. 
    I've been using Brave recently too.  It seems good at the blocking and privacy measures, but I find some of the other features a bit weird and disconcerting, like the Brave Rewards, and the cryto stuff.  I have it all turned off, but it even being there makes me a little uncomfortable.
    Lukesky1444Dogperson
  • Reply 12 of 20
    I wonder what sites like AI, Cultofmac, 9to5, etc. feel about it.  AI, like many many many sites, depend on trackers like Google Analytics and AdSense.  Many sites don't even function properly without allowing tracking.  I avoid them, but I'd be willing to bet most don't.  As was said by someone upthread, Safari blocking GA is but a blip on the radar.  
    williamlondon
  • Reply 13 of 20
    williamlondonwilliamlondon Posts: 1,331member
    As was said by someone upthread, Safari blocking GA is but a blip on the radar.  
    Simply not true as someone above said. For example, many sites have as their main visitors Apple products with Safari as the leading browser - for those companies and industries, this isn't a blip, this is much larger than that. Certainly, it'll spawn new or at least shine the light on alternates which aren't quite as privacy violating as GA. Can't wait to see.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,919member
    I wonder what sites like AI, Cultofmac, 9to5, etc. feel about it.  AI, like many many many sites, depend on trackers like Google Analytics and AdSense.  Many sites don't even function properly without allowing tracking.  I avoid them, but I'd be willing to bet most don't.  As was said by someone upthread, Safari blocking GA is but a blip on the radar.  
    Pretty sure iOS Safari is the most used mobile browser to make purchases during the holidays. Doesn’t sound like a blip to me. 
    williamlondonsvanstromwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,286member
    I wonder what sites like AI, Cultofmac, 9to5, etc. feel about it.  AI, like many many many sites, depend on trackers like Google Analytics and AdSense.  Many sites don't even function properly without allowing tracking.  I avoid them, but I'd be willing to bet most don't.  As was said by someone upthread, Safari blocking GA is but a blip on the radar.  
    Pretty sure iOS Safari is the most used mobile browser to make purchases during the holidays. Doesn’t sound like a blip to me. 
    I think Google announced plans for sunsetting Google Analytics on Safari as much as a couple years ago and started doing so early this year? 

    I would assume that the almost as pervasive Adobe Analytics would also be impacted. I think Facebook Analytics was already separately cut off but perhaps not?

    Edit: For those who never heard of Adobe Analytics. I didn't have a clue about them until maybe early last year, they stay out of the limelight.
    https://www.adobe.com/analytics/web-analytics.html
    https://www.adobe.com/analytics/adobe-analytics.html
    Google isn't the only game in town. 
    edited June 2020
  • Reply 16 of 20
    Where do I begin? The blog post gives no detail. There is no corroborations from Apple or any other Tech bloggers. Experts are asserting that ITP does not work the way the article is implying - . It is wholly based on an interpretation of screen shot from a version of Mac OS not available to the public. The website betterbuild.cc shown in the screen shot does not appear to be reachable on the internet. So it will be impossible to see exactly what was the real cause of ITP throwing those messages on that website... Testing on Big Sur does not show Safari blocking Google Analytics website tracking - .
    gatorguywilliamlondonCloudTalkin
  • Reply 17 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,286member
    dewme said:
    Yeah, saw this during the keynote. Must have caused some indigestion at Google. But what the heck, they can buy a cheap bottle of wine and commiserate with Intel on the curb outside of Apple’s spaceship campus. Welcome the the club of hangers-on who’ve overstayed their welcome due to bad behavior or ineptitude. 
    Reading now that Safari on Big Sur is NOT blocking Google Analytics in the manner this article claims it is. Perhaps more of an early misinterpretation than fact?

    EDIT: Covered by @Drewspen too.
    edited June 2020
  • Reply 18 of 20
    I wonder what sites like AI, Cultofmac, 9to5, etc. feel about it.  AI, like many many many sites, depend on trackers like Google Analytics and AdSense.  Many sites don't even function properly without allowing tracking.  I avoid them, but I'd be willing to bet most don't.  As was said by someone upthread, Safari blocking GA is but a blip on the radar.  
    Pretty sure iOS Safari is the most used mobile browser to make purchases during the holidays. Doesn’t sound like a blip to me. 
    I'm not sure the argument your making, and it certainly doesn't counter anything I've stated. Regardless, it has nothing to do with what I'm talking about.  The most trafficked sites on the web all use trackers and it's a safe bet that the majority use Google trackers... of FB's.  The loss of Safari for analytics will be a blip on their radar.  Their data collection is still so extensive that those users are still being tracked by data aggregators like Axciom, Factual, Infogroup, Localeze, etc.  Then you get retailers, banks, credit agencies... all either sharing your data with their partners or, in the case of credit agencies, outright selling the data on the open market.  Google has access to all of that.  They aren't missing out on anything major because Safari blocks GA.  

    Your narrowly defined example amounts to a rounding error of internet traffic.  And if all of that holiday traffic results in a transaction, then that data is going to be collected by the companies I mentioned above (and more) and disseminated as well.   

    As was said by someone upthread, Safari blocking GA is but a blip on the radar.  
    Simply not true as someone above said. For example, many sites have as their main visitors Apple products with Safari as the leading browser - for those companies and industries, this isn't a blip, this is much larger than that. Certainly, it'll spawn new or at least shine the light on alternates which aren't quite as privacy violating as GA. Can't wait to see.

    Not saying you made up your stats, but they definitely don't sound true.  Even if the stats were true, the number of companies you're talking about is the textbook definition of "blip".  I'm really not sure you understand the undue influence Google holds over search.  Apple's actions with Safari are admirable, but they don't rise beyond "blip" in significance.   

    edit: Looks as if the blocking may not even be true.  Someone may have misinterpreted something.  Either way, it would still be a blip.
    edited June 2020 williamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 20
    svanstromsvanstrom Posts: 702member
    I wonder what sites like AI, Cultofmac, 9to5, etc. feel about it.  AI, like many many many sites, depend on trackers like Google Analytics and AdSense.  Many sites don't even function properly without allowing tracking.  I avoid them, but I'd be willing to bet most don't.  As was said by someone upthread, Safari blocking GA is but a blip on the radar.  
    They don't depend on GA to get statistic, they just lazily use GA instead of analysing the logs on their server (like we used to do back in the day).

    And if some sites don't work without tracking it's just a good thing that they don't work, because they are selling information about people that haven't got a clue about the actual meaning of that. Which is bloody dishonest.
  • Reply 20 of 20
    Benedict Evans deleted the tweet sited in the article to give authority to the false claim. 
    edited July 2020
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