15 August 2007

Search Engines and Your Privacy

If you have ever wondered what the search engines do with the information they gather on their users, you will find some of the answers in the CNET News.com article below.

In their own words: Search engines on privacy | CNET News.com
To help our readers evaluate the privacy differences between AOL, Ask.com, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, CNET News.com sent them a survey on August 6. We've published their answers--in the companies' own words . . . (read this article)

My thoughts:

Notable is Ask.com, who plans to introduce AskEraser at the end of the year to totally wipe out your virtual footprints. Otherwise, you must logout and clear cookies if you do not want to leave tracks that may be stored for up to 18 months. Some search engines use behavioral targeting, some without allowing you to opt out.

As a marketer, I am excited by behavioral targeting from both an advertiser's and a searcher's viewpoint. The more information the searcher discloses, the more personalized a search result will be.

As a private citizen, I set my browser to empty cookies whenever it closes. If I am logged in, I try to remember to logout of Yahoo or Google before searching. I will use AskEraser when it is available.

Your Thoughts:

The information search engines retain may include user's search request, IP address, browser type, browser language, the date and time of the user's request, and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify a user's browser. If you are logged into your account with a search engine when you conduct a search, more information is saved.

What is your opinion about the retention of privacy information by search engines? Will you do anything differently when you search? Do you believe the search engines were totally honest with their answers?


Anonymous said...

Really tough to maintain our privacy

Anonymous said...

Especially when it's google's declared aim to collate enough personal information on people that they can advise us what to in our daily lives - now that is a scary prospect...

CyberCelt said...

@aknur mittal-Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Privacy appears to be a thing of the past.

chamonix-"We are here from Google and her to help you..." God forbid.

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