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Google is as transparent as possible when dealing with personal information. Their privacy website outlines five privacy principles that guide how they deal with personal information and why they collect it in the first place. How many other companies do this?

With Google Analytics, Google attempts to provide website owners with information about visitors so that the website can be improved to better serve the people who come to it. In Germany, Google Analytics was at first disallowed due to fears about private information being collected. In January, it was even reported that website owners who install Google Analytics could face fines.

Fortunately for all parties, this is no longer the case. With a recent agreement with the German government, German website owners can begin to reap the benefits of learning more about how people use their website. The agreement involves two central features of Google Analytics (both of which were already available to GA users), which the parties have agreed to implement and require as part of the arangement.

  1. Implement the IP mask function , which tells Google Analytics to not save or process the full IP address of website visitors.
  2. Instruct visitors in your privacy policy how to disable tracking via a Google Analytics Browser Add-on. By installing this browser add-on, the end users can, if desired, easily prevent analytics information from being sent to Google. This privacy feature has existed  for over a year for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer,  is now available for Safari and Opera and has proven to be a successful and efficient solution for users. [This text translated from German and edited for the purposes of this blog – see full translated version.]

The German government pushed Google to respond to its concerns, and that’s exactly what Google did – using features that were already available. Living up to this strict government scrutiny demonstrates that Google Analytics can fit the needs of website owners, visitors, and regulating bodies worldwide with an adaptable platform and set of tools.