Google just launched Google Related, a new Chrome extension and Google Toolbar feature that aims to make it easier for you to “discover useful stuff while you browse.” Once installed, the extension pops up a new toolbar at the bottom of your browser window with links to related sites. When you are reading a new article, for example, will show you relevant articles from other sources about this topic. On local business sites, on the other hand, Related will show reviews and a map, as well as links to similar restaurants. There is also a built-in +1 button on the toolbar.
The extension actually works surprisingly well. Virtually all of the articles and videos it highlights are indeed related to the original story and often offer a more in-depth view of a story or a counterpoint to an opinion piece.
To do this, Google obviously has to track where you are going online. Every time you visit a site while the plugin is active, Related will send “the URL of the web site, your machine’s IP address, and one or more Google cookies” to Google’s servers. Once you disable the extension, this data won’t be send to Google anymore (though it will probably remain on its servers for a while afterwards).