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This desktop app lets you block ads and trackers before you even go online

Ghostery Midnight

Blocking online ads and trackers is relatively easy to do. Just install the right browser add-ons that can get the job done, and then repeat the process for all the browsers you might use. But what if I told you there’s now an even easier way to do it, and that it could be done at the device level, well before you even start browsing the internet? And what if I told you it comes with a built-in VPN service of its own?

You might already be familiar with Ghostery, which makes the Ghostery browser extensions that can block companies from tracking you and stop ads. But rather than installing browser extensions, you might be better served by the company’s brand new product called Ghostery Midnight.

For $14/month after a 7-day free trial, you get a Windows 10 or Mac app that lets you configure your internet browsing experience before you open your browser. You’ll be able to choose whether to block ads and trackers, and you’ll even be able to turn on the built-in VPN for enhanced privacy while surfing the web. And the app also works with any app that uses ads and trackers, as you can see in the image above.

The subscription certainly seems expensive at $168 for a full year, but the investment might be worth it if you’re really serious about blocking ads and avoiding being tracked online.

The company told The Verge that a cheaper version with limited features will be launched next year, although it’s unclear how much it’ll cost. A mobile version will also follow.

Ghostery will use its own database to block trackers, which includes some 4,500 trackers from 2,600 companies. In the future, it will use machine learning to block trackers, as well as features that will let you decide whether to block first-party trackers and disable individual trackers.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.