Major Stylish add-on changes in regards to privacy
Stylish is a cross-browser add-on available for Firefox and Chrome, and browsers based on those, that allows you to install so-called userstyles in the browser.
These userstyles change the style of websites, e.g. the color scheme, interface elements, and anything else that can be done manipulating CSS more or less.
The owner of Stylish, the extensions and the web property that is a repository for userstyles, was handed over to a new owner back in October 2016.
The change caused issues with styles becoming corrupt due to a change in hosting companies, but nothing else changed other than that, and the issue has been fixed since then.
SimilarWeb is best known for its digital market intelligence platform. In other words, the company's main product is an analytics product.
Stylish privacy changes
The company provides resources, experience and data to the Stylish project as part of the cooperation according to Hindman's announcement.
SimilarWeb has a lot of experience with web products and offers much-needed resources, experience, and data including visibility into which are the most popular websites in each country, information that can help us decide which styles to create. On top of that, SimilarWeb sees the great value of the Stylish community, helping it to better understand the digital world.
A new version of Stylish has been released for Google Chrome in the past couple of days already. It includes SimilarWeb's market research panel which is enabled by default.
It is unclear what is being collected. The opt-out out option in the Stylish options refers to "determining user counts" only. I sent Justin an email asking for clarification, and will update this article when I receive word on the actual tracking that is taking place.
Update: According to Justin, the cooperation with SimilarWeb will bring value to Stylish. Plans are underway to work closer with the Stylish community, and get it more involved in the product. Justin is aware that the "real power of Stylish" lies in the community and its developers.
As far as tracking is concerned, anonymous information like which styles get installed or which sites visited get collected. This information powers some of the extension's functionality such as the ability to reveal styles to users when they visit sites in the browser. End
Opting-out will block the sending of anonymous data to "Stylish developers". One side effect of this is that Stylish won't reveal available styles through its icon when you visit Internet sites.
If you have updated Stylish to the latest version on Chrome, or installed the latest version, anonymous data is sent to Stylish.
To opt-out of this, do the following:
- Google Chrome: Right-click on the Stylish icon in the address bar and select Options. Remove the checkmark from "Send anonymous data to Stylish developers for determining user counts". Confirm the prompt.
- Firefox: The change is not part of Firefox yet. The last Firefox version available dates back to August 2016.