GoogleSharing is a special kind of anonymizing proxy service

Eugen Leitl eugen at
Wed Jan 20 07:00:29 PST 2010


GoogleSharing is a special kind of anonymizing proxy service, designed for a
very specific threat. It ultimately aims to provide a level of anonymity that
will prevent google from tracking your searches, movements, and what websites
you visit. GoogleSharing is not a full proxy service designed to anonymize
all your traffic, but rather something designed exclusively for your
communication with Google. Our system is totally transparent, with no special
"alternative" websites to visit. Your normal work flow should be exactly the
same.  The Basic Problem

Google thrives where privacy does not. If you're like most internet users,
Google knows more about you than you might be comfortable with. Whether you
were logged in to a Google account or not, they know everything you've ever
searched for, what search results you clicked on, what news you read, and
every place you've ever gotten directions to. Most of the time, thanks to
things like Google Analytics, they even know which websites you visited that
you didn't reach through Google. If you use Gmail, they know the content of
every email you've ever sent or received, whether you've deleted it or not.

They know who your friends are, where you live, where you work, and where you
spend your free time. They know about your health, your love life, and your
political leanings. These days they are even branching out into collecting
your realtime GPS location and your DNS lookups. In short, not only do they
know a lot about what you're doing, they also have significant insight into
what you're thinking.

Where GoogleSharing Comes In

GoogleSharing is a system that mixes the requests of many different users
together, such that Google is not capable of telling what is coming from
whom. GoogleSharing aims to do a few very specific things:

   1. Provide a system that will prevent Google from collecting information
about you from services which don't require a login.

   2. Make this system completely transparent to the user. No special
websites, no change to your work flow.

   3. Leave your non-Google traffic completely untouched, unredirected, and

The GoogleSharing system consists of a custom proxy and a Firefox Addon. The
proxy works by generating a pool of GoogleSharing "identities," each of which
contains a cookie issued by Google and an arbitrary User-Agent for one of
several popular browsers. The Firefox Addon watches for requests to Google
services from your browser, and when enabled will transparently redirect all
of them (except for things like Gmail) to a GoogleSharing proxy. There your
request is stripped of all identifying information and replaced with the
information from a GoogleSharing identity.

This "GoogleShared" request is then forwarded on to Google, and the response
is proxied back to you. Your next request will get a different identity, and
the one you were using before will be assigned to someone else. By "sharing"
these identities, all of our traffic gets mixed together and is very
difficult to analyze.

The GoogleSharing proxy even constantly injects false but plausible search
requests through all the identities.

The result is that you can transparently use Google search, images, maps,
products, news, etc... without Google being able to track you by IP address,
Cookie, or any other identifying HTTP headers. And only your Google traffic
is redirected. Everything else from your browser goes directly to its

GoogleSharing Transport

Where Google has failed to provide universal HTTPS support, we have. All
requests to a GoogleSharing proxy are sent via HTTPS. These eventually have
to be proxied out as HTTP from GoogleSharing to Google, but your traffic is
encrypted on the first path.  Running A GoogleSharing Proxy

We've made the proxy code available so that anyone can run a GoogleSharing
proxy instance in addition to the one that we're running. 

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