G-Zapper: Using Fear of Google to Sell Software


We get a lot of press releases to the Radar list, but this one really caught my eye. Ksoft is selling software, amusingly entitled G-Zapper, to help you stay anonymous while surfing Google.

In August of 2006, twenty million search terms were released from AOL, which had the possibility of being linked back to the originating user. While Google’s database has been more fortunate, they too link search terms to users through the use of a cookie. You may be surprised to find that a Google cookie exists on your PC; and even more surprised to find out how long its been there.

G-Zapper locates the Google cookie installed on your PC, determines its age, and displays your unique identifier used to track your searches. With one click, G-Zapper cleans the cookie, breaking the chain that relates your previous searches to new ones. Since Google will save a new cookie the next time you perform a search, G-Zapper also runs silently in the background, awaiting a new Google cookie, and instantly cleaning it the moment you close your web browser.

Personally, I keep my cookie uptodate for Google and use many of their login services on regular basis, but I could anonymize my searches fairly easily (I keep a “toss cookies” bookmarklet and multiple browsers handy at all times; I can always get tor if really necessary). I think most tech savvy people would not find staying untracked a challenge, inconvenient perhaps, but not a challenge.

Does KSoft think that the average, not-particularly-tech-savvy consumer has that much fear of Google? I don’t like KSoft’s use of the AOL search term debacle in their advertising. It definitely seems like fear mongering to me. It feels like G-Zapper is really just security theatre.