There is a new front in the titanic war between Google and Apple for control of the Internet: browser privacy. In February, Stanford graduate student Jonathan Mayer proved that Google had devised a clever means to “trick” Apple’s mobile Safari browser into allowing the installation of third-party cookies. That sounds—and is—shady, but iPhone users may feel better about it when they learn that third-party cookie installation is standard on the browsers you’ve been using on your computer for years. The option to turn them off has long existed, but this is one of these default settings that almost nobody uses in practice. The main use of third-party cookies is targeted advertising. If an ad network sees you searching for shoes on one site and then surfing over to read something else, the network remembers that you’re interested in shoes and will keep trying to sell them to you. What Apple did with Safari was flip the default—assuming that users did not want third-party cookies—either striking an underhanded blow at Google’s business model or securing a victory for privacy, depending on your perspective.
Source: Slate Articles