Google and Facebook are among the top two companies with the highest reach to track data at 60.2% and 27.1%, respectively, according to new data.
Overall, trackers that collect data on internet users’ online behavior are present on at least 79% of websites, according to the study from Ghostery, a Cliqz company. The study also found that in terms of web traffic, 15% of all pages loaded on the internet are monitored by 10 or more trackers.
Jeremy Tillman, director of product management at Ghostery, said the most surprising finding is the extent of the reach Google and Facebook have across the internet, even if they don't use their products.
"Even if you never visit a Google domain or Facebook domain, the reach between the two is almost exhausted," he said. "There's nowhere to hide from the two companies if you're trying to protect your privacy."
The Ghostery study found that although an internet user might not use Google Gmail, Facebook or Instagram, these companies have access to their data if they interact with brands that advertise through any one of their networks, such as DoubleClick.
Tillman said the key is the ubiquity of tools like Google Analytics and DoubleClick. If a friend has a blog and they use Google Analytics, Google now has access to the data from those interactions.
The tracker will send data back to Google.
In terms of ranking, comScore came in at No. 3 with 11.4%, Twitter at 10.5%, and Yandex at 9.5%.
Google ranks in the top 10 of the most widely used trackers based on page loads with five services, while Facebook has three. Google Analytics was found on 46.4% of all loaded pages, and Facebook Connect was found on 21.9%.
The report also cites the reach of tracking scripts for Google DoubleClick at 18.5%, Google Publisher tags at 15.1%, Google Tag Manager at 14.6%, Scorecard E.B. from comScore at 12.1%, Google AdSense at 9.9%, Twitter Button at 9.0%, Yandex.Metrix at 7.5%, Facebook Custom Audience at 7.1%, and Facebook Social Plugins at 6.7%.
Along with the study's findings, Ghostery released an anti-tracking tool, Ghostery 8, the newest version of its browser extension aimed at protecting consumer privacy.
It has a new default settings and a simplified user interface that aimed at making it easy for people to protect their privacy and regain control over their data. It is free to download for many popular browsers, such as Firefox, Chrome, Cliqz, Edge, Opera and Yandex.