Does Privacy Matter to You When You Are Using a Search Engine?





search engine privacyAsk.com is announcing the release of a new product on Tuesday that will be called "AskEraser."

This product, if you have it enabled while you are searching on Ask.com, will scrub all of your search request information out of the Ask.com database.

Other major search engines will keep a log of all of your search requests over a period of time. They will create a User ID for you that is based on your IP address, and then they will record all of your search requests. Google and Microsoft hang on to this information for 18 months before discarding it, and Yahoo and AOL hang on to the information for 13 months.

AOL was famously raked over the coals when they released the queries of more than 650,000 Americans over three months to foster academic research. The problem was that these results were littered with personal information, such as people searching their credit card numbers, SSN's and other highly sensitive pieces of information. This was a major headache for AOL, and just shone a light on the subject of search engine privacy.

Ask.com will offer the user a chance to search without leaving a digital footprint. Obviously the company is hoping that this provides them with a competitive advantage as they seek to gain market share from Google and Yahoo.

An article in the New York Times points out that the Ask.com searching experience won't be truly anonymous anyways due to the fact that Google provides many of the ads that are served on Ask.com. Google has access to the queries that are made and the IP addresses that make them so that they can serve ads and prevent online scams.

The question I have for you is: does your privacy matter enough to you that you would use this product while searching? Or do you not care?




Filed under: Internet Companies | General Knowledge

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