By default, the Safari browser on iPhones blocks cookies tracking user habits. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, tests proved that Google worked around this by installing cookies in ads, allowing tracking across sites such as YouTube, AOL, People, and UrbanDictionary.

Once the WSJ got the word out, Google disabled their servers doing the tracking. Thus, Google looks the guilty party here. However, in a written statement, the company maintains that it never collected personal information. Additionally, Google defended the practice by explaining its need for the tracking: because of Apple’s ban on cookies, Google had to use the ad-based workaround to enable its “+1” button—similar in function to Facebook’s “Like” button—to work on third-party sites outside of Google+.

What it could all amount to is Apple depriving Google a fair shake on iOS and Google earnestly trying to find a solution that works. Or maybe Google’s just evil. Who knows?

[via Wall Street Journal]