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Is this Google tracking?
February 5, 2012 1:54 PM   Subscribe

Once in a while, when trying to load a page, I can see that my browser (Chrome) is telling me that its accessing csi.gstatic.com. What is this? Searching for this seems to imply its Google-related but I couldn't find a clear explanation for this.
posted by vacapinta to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
 
It's a domain from which Google fetches images, scripts and other, non-dynamic resources. They do this to improve the performance of their services. The concept is called a CDN.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:01 PM on February 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, see I regularly see gstatic.com in the status bar, what is that domain? for some additional thoughts. The csi.gstatic.com sub domain could be used for tracking, but it's a bit unclear.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:06 PM on February 5, 2012


I had the same problem a few months ago and the solution that worked for me was to disable Google Chat. Worth a shot.
posted by iconomy at 2:14 PM on February 5, 2012


Also, the fact that you may be seeing this on non-Google sites doesn't necessarily imply that anything sneaky is going on. If a site uses any of Google's Javascript APIs — Adsense text ads, embedded Google Maps, the +1 button, etc. — then it'll have to request those scripts from Google's servers. Some sites will even request copies of common open-source libraries like jQuery from Google's servers; by taking advantage of Google's caching network, they save on bandwidth costs and potentially make their sites load faster.

In principle, all these requests get logged somewhere on Google's servers, but there's not much personally identifying information associated with them. I'm signed into a bunch of Google services at the moment but even so, I don't have any cookies associated with the gstatic.com domain. All they get from those requests is my IP address and the filename that was requested.
posted by teraflop at 3:35 PM on February 5, 2012


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