Microsoft is introducing a new feature, "Tracking Protection," to Internet Explorer (IE) 9 "to help consumers be in control of potential online tracking as they move around the Web," according to company officials.
Microsoft officials said to expect the new feature to be part of the Release Candidate (RC) test build of IE 9, which is due out in early 2011. Microsoft execs have not said when to expect the final version of IE 9 to be released, but I continue to hear April 2011 is the internal target.
Tracking Protection will be an opt-in mechanism. Microsoft officials said “Tracking Protection Lists” will enable consumers to control what third-party site content can track them when they’re online. The new feature is meant to complement other privacy features in IE, including InPrivate Browsing, a k a porn mode.
From the IE Blog, here's an explanation of how those lists will work:
"A Tracking Protection List (TPL) contains web addresses (like msdn.com) that the browser will visit (or “call”) only if the consumer visits them directly by clicking on a link or typing their address. By limiting the calls to these websites and resources from other web pages, the TPL limits the information these other sites can collect."
Microsoft has posted some slides and videos detailing how the Tracking Protection feature will work.
Microsoft announced its plans to add Tracking Protection to IE on December 7, the same day (and the same time) that Google is holding a webcast on its Chrome 9 browser and is expected to announce more details of its Chrome OS operating system for netbooks.
Update: LiveSide poses a quesetion about the Tracking Protection feature that I've seen others wonder as well: Is it just a glorified ad blocker in another guise?