To tackle user privacy concerns, Google will test a new IP Protection feature during a phased rollout for Chrome users to safeguard their identities online.
What Is IP Protection?
Initially introduced as “Gnatcatcher,” IP protection proposes to mask users’ original IP addresses by routing their web traffic through privacy proxies.
The goal is to limit cross-site tracking and safeguard individual identities online.
Why Users Need To Safeguard IP Addresses
The advent of IP Protection comes in response to growing concerns over covert tracking techniques, which involve utilizing IP addresses to identify users without explicit consent.
The feature forms part of Google’s broader effort to establish a comprehensive privacy ecosystem that addresses user needs while maintaining the web’s functionality and safety.
How IP Protection Works
Users interested in leveraging this feature will initially need to opt in.
Once enabled, IP Protection will target specific domains for tracking user behavior.
As reported by Bleeping Computer, IP Protection Phase 0 testing will involve only Google-owned domains and U.S.-based IP addresses.
The list includes notable services like Gmail and Google Voice and older domains like plus.google.com and orkut.com.
Google will deploy a single company-owned proxy server in Phase 0, responsible for the initial routing.
Future updates will incorporate a more complex 2-hop proxy system for further privacy fortifications.
The experimental rollout will be phased to allow room for adaptation and fine-tuning. It suggests that Google is cautious about the impact of IP Protection and plans to evolve the feature based on user feedback.
When Will It Be Available In Google Chrome?
According to The Privacy Sandbox timeline, IP Protection is in the early phase/incubation stage.
A help page for Google Chrome Enterprise and Education users notes that the Phase 0 rollout could appear as early as Chrome 122.
The Chrome 122 schedule denotes a Beta Promotion date of Wed, Jan 24, 2024, and a Stable Release date of Tue, Feb 20, 2024.
This new feature could significantly impact how privacy, tracking, and online advertising intersect.
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