“Don’t be evil” is an unofficial motto first uttered by a Google executive during a meeting years ago, and while it started as a playful slogan Google used to jab at its rivals, the three little words have come back to haunt the company on countless occasions. The press and users alike often resurrect the credo when discussing the company’s mission to collect as much information about its users as possible, thus allowing it to target advertising more effectively for its clients. Not all Googlers are on board with this mission, however. In an effort to help users protect their privacy, two former Google employees have created a company with the aim of stopping Google and other sites from tracking users.
“Advertisers and other third parties track, clutter, and slow down your web browsing,” Disconnect.me explains on its website. “Disconnect makes the web your business not theirs.”
The company offers a simple plug-in for Google’s Chrome browser that allows users to stop sites like Google, Yahoo, Twitter and Facebook from tracking web browsing. According to TechCrunch, the Disconnect.me now attracts more than 400,000 weekly users. The company is just a few months old but it just raised $600,000 in funding from Highland Capital and other firms, and it aims to expand its service to block more websites from tracking users.
“We think your personal info should be treated with respect, that you should be the steward of your digital self, that you should own your own data,” the company states on its website. “But today, you’re getting a bum deal. Thousands of companies and organizations are taking, analyzing, and auctioning off things like the history of the webpages you go to and searches you do, without even telling you. So we’re building a platform to put you back in charge and let you decide who does what with your online data.”
Disconnect.me’s Chrome browser plug-in is free and available for download on its website.