Chrome browser problem page

Do Not Track is putting Google is quite a bind.

While the latest stable build of Chrome finally adds the anti-tracking header, Google isn’t going out of its way to tell anyone about it. Do Not Track isn’t mentioned until a full five paragraphs into the post announcing the new Chrome features. Priority? Probably not.

And it gets better, as Google is also questioning just how useful Do Not Track is in the first place. “The effectiveness of such requests is dependent on how websites and services respond, so Google is working with others on a common way to respond to these requests in the future,” Google software engineer Ami Fischman wrote.

That skepticism is well-founded. Both Yahoo and Apache have announced that they will ignore the Do Not Track header in Internet Explorer 10, which, unlike Chrome, turns on Do Not Track by default. After all, Do Not Track is more of a suggestion than an outright command.

But Do Not Track is a bit more complicated for Google than it is for Microsoft. While the Chrome team wants to make the browser as competitive as possible, Do Not Track is a clear affront to Google’s bread-and-butter ad operations. Why would Google go out of its way to hurt itself?

I’ve reached out to Google for more insight into its decision and will update this story when the company responds.