Ghostery 8 improves anti-tracking and ad-blocking functions

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 7, 2017

A new version of Ghostery, Ghostery 8, was released yesterday featuring new AI-powered anti-tracking capabilities and enhanced ad-blocking.

Ghostery, which was acquired by German company Cliqz some time ago, is a cross-browser privacy extension that started out as an extension to block tracking predominantly but has since then transformed into a content blocking solution with strong anti-tracking functionality.

The extension is available for all major browsers and can be downloaded from the official website.

Tip: Check out our reviews of Ghostery 6 and Ghostery 7 as well.

Ghostery 8

Ghostery 8 prompts you to choose between a quick and custom setup. I suggest you select custom, as you can better set the preferences when you do. The extension walks you through a series of screens which you use to enable or disable various features such as ad blocking.

Ghostery 8 comes with a new simple view mode which you may enable. It is designed for users who are not interested in details on individual trackers and other date, and just want a summary of activity instead.

The advanced view is still available, and you can pick it during setup if you select custom setup. There is also an option to switch between both view modes directly in the Ghostery UI.

One of the core new features of Ghostery 8 is the improved anti-tracking protection. Ghostery's parent company Cliqz provided the team with an heuristic add-on for it which may detect trackers that are not caught through the use of traditional blocklists. The new heuristic module is designed to detect trackers in real-time to overwrite "uniquely identifying data points".

Ghostery improved the ad-blocking component of the extension in addition to that by relying on filter lists. Unlike traditional ad-blocking solutions however, options to add custom filter lists to the extension appear to be missing.

The team put a development focus on making Ghostery easier to use. The new simple view mode and simplified setup are two features that came out of that.

The extension's Smart Blocking functionality is another. It is designed to analyze the blocking of trackers to make sure that page's are not broken when trackers are blocked. Ghostery may unblock trackers if it detects that a page is broken if specific trackers are blocked. Advanced users may turn off the feature to remain in full control.

Ghostery 8 comes with other much requested features. Users find a pause button in the interface now that suspends the extension for a set period of time.

Closing Words

There has been quite a bit of controversy surround Ghostery and Cliqz in the past. You may want to turn off any data collecting -- if enabled -- in the extension's preferences right after installation. If you use custom setup, you can disable that right away though.

The extension itself seems to work really well in regards to tracker and advertisement blocking. Its focus on trackers makes it somewhat unique in the ad-blocking realm, not because of the blocking but because of the focus on trackers in its interface.

You have to decide for yourself if that is enough to give it a try, or even switch to Ghostery.

Now You: Which content blocker do you use, and why?

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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