Thursday, August 2, 2007

Search Engines press the Panic Button

Privacy issues are getting on to the nerves of popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and The concern over the large amount of personal data gathered and stored by search engines is constantly on the rise in the online marketplace. Increasing pressure from general public and regulatory agencies have driven these sites into pressing the panic button.

The whole debate heated up in the US in November 2006 when certain advocacy groups asked the Federal Trade Commission to keep a tab on consumer profiling by online marketing firms. In due course, it was discovered that the privacy policies of these websites are still wanting in a number of areas.

As a consequence, Microsoft recently announced that it would make all personal data on search queries anonymous within a span of 18 months. Yahoo and are also working towards limiting the use of a user's search history. In fact, the latter will give users the option of not retaining their Web searches.

Search industry bigwig Google has been at the forefront of this ire. It is working towards shortening the life span of cookies, and plans to make search queries anonymous after 18 to 24 months.

Although search query data has helped advertisers in improving upon their strategies, it is time the user's right to privacy was given due respect. Search engines, pull up your socks... users are indeed getting smarter!


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