Google Faces Historic FTC Fine Over Safari Cookies

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – $22.5 million: That’s how much Google will be set back financially following an upcoming fine from the FTC, according to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal.

The expected move made through an agreement stems from a case in which the online search giant allegedly integrated tracking cookies into Apple browser Safari, thus affecting millions of users.

If carried through with, the fine will make history, holding the distinction of being the largest amount the FTC has ever imposed on one company. The issue initially surfaced in February and drew criticism from Windows creator Microsoft.

“This type of tracking by Google is not new.  The novelty here is that Google apparently circumvented the privacy protections built into Apple’s Safari browser in a deliberate, and ultimately, successful fashion,” commented Internet Explorer Business and Marketing GM Ryan Gavin when discussing the issue on the Windows Blog at the time. Gavin also notably used the occasion to promote his company’s Internet Explorer 9 offering.

Google has since worked to disable the cookie tracking on Safari web browsers. Cookies are commonly used to collect web data pertinent to individuals for the sake of advertising. The fine won’t dig too deep into Google’s pockets. According to an infographic from WordStream.com, the company’s 2011 revenues accounted for $37.9 billion dollars.

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