asked Jun 08 '12 at 03:03
Good question. If an Internet Browser did track your browsing, it would be a huge compromise to privacy. It would likewise be a huge deal if the Windows 7 operating system tracked your information and sent it back to Microsoft. That still wouldn't be quite as bad as what happens online when using Google, as only Microsoft would have your information vs. Google and hundreds of advertising companies and websites tracking it.
Fortunately, the Windows 7 operating system itself does not do this, short of if you enable the Customer Experience Program and the Genuine Microsoft software validation. And even in those cases, only anonymous system hardware, cd-key, and performance data is sent back. You can also disable whether either of those happens. Windows XP included a search companion which sent search terms to Microsoft when an internet search was performed, but that has been done away with in Windows 7. Your privacy is safe in Windows 7. Just watch out for individual applications you install that might be transmitting data, though usually you can stop that from happening with the Windows Firewall.
Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox do also not do this to any malicious extent. Although if you have Google or another mainstream search engine set to your Omnibar (address bar) search it will collect data on all searches performed in the address bar, and if instant search is enable (like in Chrome) anything typed into the address bar can be tracked. Firefox (and even the Thunderbird email client) have been known to call home to Mozilla's servers to transmit basic census information, but this can be disabled.
If you use any of Google's online products, everything you do is tracked and sent to Google. This is how it works with any online web-app or "cloud" solution. Free and "Cloud" service comes at a price; the price of your privacy. Even if you pay for "cloud" service, the company still has access to your data. Example ala Google Apps for business.