Google promised wary Web surfers the upcoming option to opt-out of Google Analytics tracking back in March, and now it's finally here. In light of recent privacy issues with other Web giants like Facebook, Google's timing with this release is impeccable, but, is it worth it?

Choice and Transparency for All 

The opt-out option comes in the form of a beta plugin for IE 7 or 8, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. After installation, the tool essentially tells Google Analytics Javascript (ga.js) not to collect user data such as IP information. However, it does not block Google's DoubleClick advertising cookie, nor does it prevent IP information or search queries from being directly logged by the sites you visit, or the practices of other Web analytics tools. 

Enabling the add-on would essentially only keep one wing of Google's kingdom from recording a small part of your information. 

Google is simultaneously releasing a new functionality for website owners, should they decide to grant visitors an additional level of privacy--IP address anonymization. Enacting this option, of course, would mean saying goodbye to a heap of geographical data, which in turn would lead to reduced accuracy of location-based information in analytics reports. 

“We take privacy very seriously and we’re committed to providing users with more choice. Though Google Analytics collects information anonymously and in aggregate only, the add-on gives users the choice to opt-out of the Google Analytics Javascript (ga.js) sending information to Google Analytics,” said Google spokesman Brian Richardson. “We’re constantly working to both enhance the privacy options for users and provide website owners with valuable data to improve their websites.”

Who Really Cares?

If this tool catches on, it'll obviously mean a hurdle for marketers. 'If' being the key word. 

While  privacy fanatics like Moxie Marlinspike will probably appreciate the tool, Richardson recently told the Los Angeles Times that only one in 15 visitors to the Ad Preferences site decide to opt out, while four edit their personal information and 10 do nothing at all.

If you're the one out of 10, you can get the opt-out tool here