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cookies vs. trackers and analytics software

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I like to thank you for a amazing site. I love the content, examples, exercises, and opportunity to get certified in each language / technology. That said, I really like to know more about cookies, how they differ from trackers and other information collection methods so I can try to be more selective about what information I share with with various sites I visit. I did see the Cookies section under Java Script, and I wonder if it is possible for someone to provide a bit more detail in this area. Ideally I like to be able to view and control what information I share with sites. I have reviewed the browser cache and clean it often, but I do not know what each cookie stores. Is there a software that provides a view for this? 

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Each cookie is just a generic data store, it just has a name and a value.  The value can be anything the site wants to set (within size limitations) and doesn't need to be human-readable, maybe it's just an ID string to match up with a database somewhere, maybe it's encrypted data that the site decrypts.  There are other properties that cookies can have but that's the basic idea, just a name and a value.

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