Why Google Is Scary

Nelson's Weblog: googleSearchHistory

Did you know that for years Google has been keeping a record of every search you do? And did you know they're now associating your search history with your Google login for other services like Gmail, Calendar, and the like? Surprise! It's Search History. And now it's being used to personalize your search results.

I don't like Google aggregating this data about me. It is possible to opt out. You can turn off search history recording in the settings page. You can also edit your history, including removing it entirely.

Update Tuesday, Feb 6: the instructions above let you remove the search history that you can access via the search history product. However, Google is logging your search history in other places for other purposes. See Google's privacy FAQ and privacy policy for more info on those other forms of search history.

Nothing to fear! Of course! Nothing to fear!

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3 Responses to Why Google Is Scary

  1. how says:

    Which search engines are not doing this?

  2. Michael says:

    Because most other search engines (Yahoo perhaps excepted) don’t provide much in the way of ancillary services, it is easy to refuse their cookies and anonymize one’s accesses. It’s much harder with Google as you need the ID to use gmail and other things, and they cross-reference between them. It’s the very utility of the suite that creates the danger.

  3. My concern comes purely from a perspective of valuation, forgiving the privacy issue for a moment. As a person dependent upon internet for research, I am worried that personalized search results will prevent searchers from finding the random result they need.

    As far as the privacy implications are concerned, how easy would it be to obtain a search warrant and have access to every search a person performs. Yikes, here I was thinking Google was on the good side of things.

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