Ghostery 7 privacy extension is out

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 7, 2016

Ghostery is a popular browser extension for Chrome, Opera and Firefox that is been designed primarily to block tracking scripts on the Internet.

The extension shares features with ad-blockers, but concentrates on tracking more than it does no blocking advertisement or other elements on web pages.

Ghostery 7 has been in the works for quite some time. It has been released already for Google Chrome, while the Firefox version on Mozilla AMO is still at version 6.3.2 at the time of writing. The team plans to release the extension for Microsoft's Edge browser as well, but it too is not available yet.

Ghostery 7

One of the first things that you will notice if you used a previous version of Ghostery is that the interface changed.

The new interface lists new options, and looks a bit cleaner than the previous one. It is not a complete overhaul though, as all features that you found in previous versions are still available.

It lists the number of trackers that were blocked. One change is that Ghostery lists all trackers directly in the interface now, while it did not do so in previous versions.

This gives you options to unblock (or block) certain trackers right away on that page. You may click on any tracker to display additional information about it right on the page as well.

tracker information

The information seem to come from the company that operates the tracker though. There is an option to click on a link to open the full company profile on the Ghostery website. It offers links, and privacy information on top of what is displayed right in the interface.

There is also a new option to pause Ghostery right from the menu, and to map the trackers. The latter option is only available if you sign in to an account though.

You may also collapse the tracker information to only display general information when you click on the Ghostery icon on the main toolbar.

Users who sign up for an account get additional features. This includes the ability to sync settings across browsers, notifications for slow and non-secure trackers, URL detection for each tracker, and one free scan a month for the company's new Trackermap product. This maps all tracker relationships on a page.

Tracker alerts are designed to aid users when it comes to making decisions what to block on a page. Alerts may inform you about trackers that break pages when blocked, and about slow or non-secure trackers.

All users benefit from a  new local settings menu that is integrated directly in the main Ghostery interface. You had to use a Web UI previously to modify settings which is no longer necessary with the new Ghostery 7 release.

Ghostery 7 prompts you after installation to decide whether to share page and tracker data with the company. If you check "support Ghostery" on the Settings page, you find an option to disable the sharing of extension usage analytics with the company on top of that.

Other than that, you get options to define certain features, such as update notifications or if and for how long the purpose box tracker list is displayed in the browser.

You find additional information about the new version of Ghostery on the official company blog.

Ghostery 7 privacy extension is out
Article Name
Ghostery 7 privacy extension is out
We take a look at the new Ghostery 7 privacy extension for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and the Opera web browser.
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  1. at4v1c said on September 9, 2016 at 12:31 am

    Flaming Trollfest Mp3

  2. XenoSilvano said on September 8, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    @Parker Lewis


    1. Parker Lewis said on September 9, 2016 at 12:06 am



  3. At4v1c said on September 8, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    @Zed: Right! The last good version had a different icon.

    @Martin: Keep it going! This place is a kind of little island, known up to distant shores for its values and good community!

  4. At4v1c said on September 7, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    A calling home fest. There was an old version that was usable, at least. This is beyond spyware.

  5. Peter said on September 7, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    So you can no longer hide the indicator box on the icon?

    1. justakiwi said on September 8, 2016 at 2:03 am

      if you mean the icon for uBlock origin. in firefox can go to customize and move the icon to additional tools and features. just hides it from yr browser main page

  6. Zed said on September 7, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Hum, no.
    First of all, Evidion, the company behind it (renamed to Ghostery Inc. now) plays a disturbing dual-role in trying to protect users’ privacy but sells their data to advertising companies it blocks.
    Since version 6, UI has changed indeed. A lot. And not for the best of it: advanced settings are obfuscated deeply, letting only very basic stuff (e.g. all trackers on/off) above the surface.
    But most important, all settings now are stored into ghostery’s servers ? Isn’t that awesome for an addon that’s suppose to increase your privacy ?
    Oh heh, cherry on the cake, it’s huge (~130 MB, huh ?) slows firefox -i don’t have chrome- a lot and leaks to google through fonts googleapis com.
    That was for the creepy part.
    Now the really disturbing one.
    Ghostery -or maybe Mozilla ? I seriously hope not- has been deleting hundreds of low or negative reviews even if they perfectly comply with the post guidelines from Mozilla’s addons site.
    I highly suspect them to create fake accounts (look for registration date vs review date, one post total) just to artificially inflate their 5-star count and calling other reviewers “trolls”.
    Stay away from this deceptive addon, there are way more reliable stuff out there.
    As said already, uBlock origin works great and Privacy Badger does more or less the same as ghostery… Expect the EFF is its author.
    But i actually wonder if Ghostery threw some “arguments” for you to write something about it ?

    1. Chains The Bounty Hunter said on September 7, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      That last line was unnecessary and does little more than obnoxiously poke at journalistic integrity. Why, of all things to start compromising himself for, would Martin opt to start with Ghostery?

      1. Parker Lewis said on September 9, 2016 at 12:46 am

        You’re not basing your answer on the same context as I did, and that’s fine :)
        Forget it, Martin probably understood and that’s all that matters. Tact was to him. Explaining good intentions stains them.

        (Note: I am not a native English speaker.)

      2. Tom Hawack said on September 8, 2016 at 2:57 pm

        Not every word. Let’s stick on the context and the style.

        Assuming a context is “Tough nowadays to make a living with a blog” and someone says “You do have a right to monetize though” is quite different from another where a joker’s comment lead to Martin’s reply and to a bright mind adding “You do have a right to monetize though!” with the exclamation point moreover. Anyone feels this at worst as “Hum, good money is feasible” and at best as an inappropriate wording even meant as a joke. Inappropriate because of what is going on with this “You do have a right to monetize” as I explained above and as we all know.

        Let it be reminded that uBlock became uBlock Origin when a smart guy of the development team started implicitly this time wondering on “You do have a right to monetize” which in fact appeared to Gorhill as “let’s make bucks with this”.

        Making money is not a problem. It may be one depending on the circumstances and as always in the way this aim is conducted. On the Web as elsewhere we all know what money as Aim#1 leads to.

        Let’s put it this way : “You do have a right to monetize though” can be at least untactful when the context is what it was here. But, of course, anyone has the right to be untactful.

      3. Parker Lewis said on September 8, 2016 at 2:07 pm

        So every word that I spout regardless of context should be a philosophy essay now xD
        You’re tough on me.

        If you need something I’m sulking in that corner over there, where I apparently can’t lose.

      4. Tom Hawack said on September 8, 2016 at 9:53 am

        I wouldn’t read “you have a right to” if it weren’t written. The wording just isn’t fortunate when it comes to monetizing. Our era seems to turn around our rights. “It’s my right!”. Having to read between the lines is a general medicine proposed to those who read what is written rather than what could be meant with imagination, like in modern art. Speculation. Art OK, philosophy less. It’s always up to the author to be explicit, not to the reader to compensate evidence with hypothesis.

      5. Parker Lewis said on September 8, 2016 at 12:50 am

        There’s more than one way to earn money from a website.

        (Please don’t let yourself be triggered by random alignment of words like “you have a right to”. Read between the lines and in-context ;) )

      6. Teddy Ficile said on September 7, 2016 at 8:40 pm

        So much harm is done all around this planet with rights to do it. Not sure having the right is a good reference. Tracking is legal, driving people nuts with advertisement is legal, being aggressive is legal (the art of saying and doing bad without ever trespassing legality). Obviously what makes life better doesn’t built itself around ‘having the right”.

      7. Parker Lewis said on September 7, 2016 at 8:24 pm

        +1 openness
        +1 integrity

        (You do have a right to monetize though!)

      8. Martin Brinkmann said on September 7, 2016 at 7:45 pm

        Thanks. I never took money from companies to write about products, I never will. I get requests on a regular basis to push articles (you don’t have to write, they are high quality, we do all the work) on Ghacks that I get paid for, I get requests for adding links to the site for money, and I get requests for severely irritating advertising such as pop-unders, overlays, interstitial ads, and god knows what else.
        I would make a lot of money in the short term, but I’m not doing it, and I won’t be doing it.

    2. MPriv said on September 7, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      I’ve noticed that the trolls on Ghostery’s FF add-on page are also posting on a lot of other ad blocker extension pages and they are the exact same posts by a Mr. Theo or Mozilla Troll Team. There are about 20 new ones every morning that are marked as spam by other reviewers and removed by AMO. I suspect that it’s a publishing company or a wanna-be competitor trolling the pages, not Ghostery, AdBlock Plus, or uBlock Origin. Someone has a lot of free time on their hands.

  7. Curtis said on September 7, 2016 at 11:20 am

    On AMO (Mozlla) it’s Version (if you go to versions page).

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 7, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      The version is probably waiting for review. Should be out shortly then.

  8. Jeff said on September 7, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Frankly, the constant annoying user interface changes made me uninstall Ghostery. They waste my time. uBlock Origin FTW. Ghostery can go to hell for changing everything in every new version. It becomes more and more bloated too. Takes more memory now than uBlock Origin.

    1. T J said on September 7, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      It’s nice to see all the ublock Origin cheerleaders here. All the points you have made are absolutely right.
      Ublock Origin is easy to install, configure and update.
      The people at gorhill do a fantastic job.

      “uMatrix can manage cookies, not uBlockO” So what ? Ublock Origin is not written to do that. It blocks untrusted and dubious sites.

  9. Anonymous said on September 7, 2016 at 9:07 am

    uBlock Origin does the same thing with proper block lists. At the top of that it is now owned by an advertising company.

    1. Tom Hawack said on September 7, 2016 at 11:29 am

      uBlock Origin not only does the same, it does it better; and not only does it better it does more, such as enabling user’s ability to block a site’s external calls. In fact uBlock Origin and it’s “cousin” uMatrix from the same developer are at this time the only complete tools to defend users from advertisement and tracking. All other products on the market are approximations.

      Big thanks indeed to Gorhill, the developer, honesty, talent and commitment united.

      1. Clade said on September 12, 2016 at 10:01 pm

        sorry for my english …

        Noted that the extension uMatriz using less than half the memory that UBlock Origin, but routinely use the translation of pages in the case of Chrome, UMatriz is blocking the translation.

      2. Anonymous said on September 9, 2016 at 1:28 am

        Github is always trying to make things difficult for newbies, most of the time i can’t even install a script or download an xpi, so its not in my intention to register on that site. But thanks for the advice.

      3. Tom Hawack said on September 8, 2016 at 9:42 am

        For reporting uBlock Origin issues :
        I haven’t had to report any, founded or not, for months.
        uBlock Origine Wiki :

      4. Anonymous said on September 8, 2016 at 5:02 am

        I have just two problems with uBlock Origin. One with the element picker, some ads elements must be erased two times to disapear. Also sometimes ads elements appear, i must refresh the page to get things back to normal. If you an idea about that problem you will be welcome :)

      5. Parker Lewis said on September 7, 2016 at 6:48 pm

        I love µBlock Origin. No way I’m using another adblocker. My only regret is that it doesn’t use the nice in-page window that ABP and developer tools have. The logs would fit comfortably there, as would a more complete and powerful interface.


        As for µMatrix, it’s a shame that it doesn’t have as many users because it’s just awesome, although a future update implements an IMHO terrible decision flexibility and security-wise:

        “Media resources are now reported in the image column, having these reported in the other column does not make much sense. Should probably rename the image column to media.”

        Also, reducing discrimination against resource types doesn’t sound good. If the UI threatens to be too complex for normal users, then how about a ruleset that allows bundling resource types together (e.g. * * imagemedia noop), which the UI would use, and finer grained rule support for independent resource types ? (Or better, an option to toggle a “debundled” UI that would add/change columns according to what is bundled with what…)


        Now that I think about it I have a couple more regrets for µBlock Origin.
        – It doesn’t support the same level of complexity as µMatrix, it’s fine that the UI doesn’t but the rule parser…
        – In a hard-blocking mode, it is currently not possible through the drop down interface to allow/noop non-script resources from a specific third party. Scripts will be allowed with the rest, at least on mobile. They will be downloaded with images and CSS and then run if the first-party site can run scripts. I don’t remember whether this is an UI-only issue or a rule parser one.

        I guess that instead of thinking out loud I should just contribute myself to the codebase at some point if Gorhill is fine with such features but not willing to give them development time :) (Time… >_<)

      6. MdN said on September 7, 2016 at 4:50 pm

        @gorhill and others – first, thank you for your replies and impressive extensions.
        Second, I just tried uMatrix and noticed that pages load even faster now. So I’ll keep uBlock for personal filtering and uMatrix for what it does (still learning). Yes, connections/cookies/javascript/whatever, I’m not a programmer but I’m trying to learn. :-) And yes, what I did in uBlock was to block Facebook (and also did the same with Twitter and so on, I need them sadly…) everywhere by default except on Facebook itself. There are still some connections I wasn’t sure about but now that I see that pages work well even if uMatrix blocks those connections, wow. I had to adjust settings for a few pages by trial and error but that was easy. Maybe some day I’ll be able to use just one, but since the performance is better, for now not it’s not a big deal. Cheers for the uMatrix option to clear the cache periodically too, my Firefox is set to 100MB but when my Chromium-based browsers suck too much content they become slower.

      7. Teddy Ficile said on September 7, 2016 at 2:02 pm

        Thanks for correcting me, gorhill. Indeed I should have had the fact in mind that if a connection to a domain is blocked its cookies are as well.

        I personally have set uBlockO to Hard mode (3rd-party scripts = globally blocked, 3rd-party frames = globally blocked, 3rd-party = globally blocked) and forget about 3rd-party cookies (their implication in connections) as I’ve blocked them in Firefox independently therefor from uBlockO.

        Also, I had a look this morning at uMatrix and noticed the advanced management of cookies among other even finer tuning settings and perhaps this has made me believe MdN was mistaking uBlockO with uMatrix.

        Nice to see, read you pop-in, Gorhill :)

      8. gorhill said on September 7, 2016 at 1:43 pm

        @Teddy Ficile, given that cookie payload is part of the HTTP headers in a network request/response, if you block all connections to Facebook everywhere by default (something I recommend and do myself), you indeed block cookie payload as a consequence. So @MdN is not wrong, but to be more accurate he should have used the term “connections” instead of “cookies”.

        Not connecting at all to a remote server is even better, given that even without cookies a mere connection would cause one’s IP address/user agent/referrer to leave a trace in a site’s server log[1] — something which a ubiquitous entity like Facebook can use to build a profile through browsing history.

        [1] And who knows what else Facebook’s javascript payload gather once it executes on any given page where it is embedded.

      9. Teddy Ficile said on September 7, 2016 at 1:08 pm

        @MdN, uMatrix can manage cookies, not uBlockO.

      10. MdN said on September 7, 2016 at 12:58 pm

        Wjaz I love about uBlock Origin is that I can easily allow cookies from (for example) Facebook on Facebook only, but not on other sites. I have it on all my browsers and it’s easy to transfer my own rules from one to another. And it’s light on resources. Used to have 2-3 tracking protection/adblocking extensions combined, now it’s just this one (plus BluHell on Firefox).

    2. rsn said on September 7, 2016 at 11:21 am

      Any list not in the the default ones?

      If so share it.

    3. zund said on September 7, 2016 at 10:47 am

      i second that ublock origin does a far better job while using less cpu-time. :)

    4. Anonymous said on September 7, 2016 at 10:09 am

      Yes; a BIG THANK YOU to gorhill and people working hard on that block lists :-)

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