Google Chrome is using a client id variable in the file Local State which can be found in the user data folder of the Chrome installation. This identification number is unique for every Chrome installation.
Privacy advocates are already warning users that the id can be used to create exact user profiles of a user's actions when the Google Chrome is used. Google has -- theoretically -- the option to look up that ID whenever necessary to link actions on the web or in the browser to a particular user.
It did not take long though before some users figured out ways to remove or alter the client id so that the collected data was useless for Google.
This article is going to highlight three different methods to edit or remove the Google Chome user id to make sure that no permanent data can be collected when the web browser is being used.
Users can check if the following methods work by viewing the contents of the Local State file when Google Chrome is running. The client id should not be visible in the file if a program has been used to remove it.
Google Chrome portable:
The portable version of Google Chrome was developed by a long term reader of Ghacks. Caschy is running his own (German) blog at Stadt Bremerhaven. The current version of portable Google Chrome can be downloaded at his blog. All that needs to be done is to unpack the contents of the download and run Chromeloader.exe.
A positive effect besides portability is the fact that every user will have the same id as long as they are starting Google Chrome using Chromeloader. The client id in the Local State file should read FA7069F6-ACF8-4E92-805E-2AEBC67F45E0.
Google Chrome Anonymizer:
Google Chrome Anonymizer is a tool that has been specifically designed to remove the client id from the Local State file so that the submitted data cannot be used to identify a user over several surfing sessions.
The software program can be started from any location on the hard drive and alters the Local State file directly before starting Google Chrome afterwards. This means that no client id is transferred to Google when using Google Chrome.
Update: Google Chrome Anonymizer is no longer available. You can use a program like Chrome Privacy Protector instead which serves the same purpose.
Manual Edit of Local State:
If you do not want to use the portable version of Google Chrome nor the Anonymizer, then you can edit the Local State file directly and remove the client id entries manually from the file. The problem with this approach is that Google is creating new client id entries if the entries have been deleted previously.
This means that you would have to edit the file manually every time before you are starting or closing Google Chrome. The Local State file can be found in Documents and Settings\Profle Name\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\.
Update: Another alternative is to use browsers based on Chrome. You can use Chromium for example, the open source core of Chrome, or a browser like Iron that has been specifically designed for that purpose.Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.