Ministry of Propaganda

Ministry of Propaganda - 31/Mar/2005: "That explains it..."

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That explains it...

Earlier today I went to Google to search for something where I knew the site I wanted but didn't have the URL to hand. I have ask for each cookie except session cookies activated in the preferences for Mozilla (at home) and Firefox (at work). When the Google results page appeared I was a bit surprised to see the cookie dialog pop up to ask me about setting a cookie for the site I was looking for! Google wants to set a cookie for a different site, how was that possible? I had my suspicions, now I have the confirmation:

Google has added a kind of preloading (via Boing Boing, which also mentions what I noticed), using the Mozilla/ Firefox prefetching mechanism. While I like the idea of prefetching in principle (I'm in a way using it on several of my sites, including this one) I'm not entirely convinced with what's happening here.

I don't have a problem with preloading pages within a site, even if this might mean a cookie is set by the site. I'm not entirely convinced that it is right that an external page/ site is prefetched, in particular if that means a cookie is set from a site I might not want to visit. Now I'm not entirely sure if this a Google or Mozilla/ Firefox issue: I'm tending towards calling it a Mozilla/ Firefox bug, Google is just using the available capability and Mozilla/ Firefox should allow cookies to be set for a site I haven't visited yet. Other thoughts?

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