Cliqz, a German company owned by Burda Media and Mozilla, has acquired the popular anti-tracking tool Ghostery and the Ghostery brand.
We reviewed Ghostery several times here on Ghacks Technology News, the last time in September 2016 when the company behind the product released Ghostery 7 for all supported operating systems.
The company did make the news a year earlier when it sneaked a new promotional messaging system in the extension. It has been criticized as well for its GhostRank feature which records which ads are encountered and blocked.
The browser extension adds anti-tracking to the web browser. This is different from ad and content blockers which block advertisement, tracking and more.
Ghostery concentrates on the tracking part, but may block some ads as a consequence as well. The extension gives you options to allow or block certain trackers
The German company Cliqz is probably not as widely known. You may remember the name from one of Firefox's Test Pilot projects of the same name, or if you tried the company's main product, a web browser with improved search capabilities and improved user privacy.
The Firefox Test Pilot project added some of the features of the Cliqz web browser to Firefox.
Cliqz acquired the Ghostery brand, extension, and a development team responsible for the extension today. Ghostery's parent company Evidon is not part of the deal. It's access to anonymous data that Ghostery users provide freely remains.
According to the press release on the Ghostery website, Ghostery remains an independent product that the team will continue to work on. The team plans to integrate Cliqz's anti-tracking technology into Ghostery. This adds heuristic blocking to Ghostery, which relies currently on blocklists to get the job done.
Ghostery's development team plans to work closely with Cliqz according to the press release to improve Ghostery further, and find "concepts and opportunities".
Among these will be the trial implementation of the Human Web as the infrastructure that we use to collect data to improve our own products. It’s important to underscore how cutting-edge this technology is and the importance it plays in collecting data safely and responsibly from users in a way that completely guarantees their anonymity and privacy.
Interested users may join the beta group to participate in some of these texts and experiments.
It remains to be seen if nothing will change indeed, or if there will be some fallout or changes.
Now You: What's your take on the acquisition?