Google Analytics and DoubleClick
Changing Google Analytics domain name
This small feature has a huge impact on Google’s tracking capabilities. Google is now capable of tracking users on many websites using its DoubleClick ID.
Deleting cookies won’t solve the problem
It means that if you delete your third party cookies, Google will still be able to re-establish the link between your old DoubleClick cookie and your new simply by using your analytics cookies which are first party cookies.
In October 2012, Goolge announced “Universal Analytics”, an upgrade of “Google analytics” enabling cross device tracking (I’d recommend reading this description of Universal Analytics features). With Universal Analytics, deleting first party cookies might not help either because Google could recognize you if you log in into a website. Indeed, Universal Analytics assigns the same cookie to a user when they sign-in on a website. The cookie id is not set by Google but by the website editor, it means that Google will recognize you when you log in on a Universal Analytics website. Interestingly, the website can also transmit non-personally identifying information to Google such as your age and gender. In that case, Google could combine information you provided on your Google profile with information provided by a website using Universal Analytics. So Google will be able to compare information that you provided on your Google Web profile with information provided on Universal Analytics websites.
Thanks to Frederik Borgesius for reviewing a draft of this post.