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Google Crunches Its Cookies Faster

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Ongoing privacy concerns have pressured Google into announcing a change with the cookies they use to remember a user’s preferences.

Google Crunches Its Cookies Faster
Google Crunches Its Cookies Faster

Over the rest of 2007, Google’s servers will start issuing new cookies to visiting browsers. Instead of their current 2038 expiration date, these cookies will devour themselves after two years, assuming the browser never returns to Google.

Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel at Google, discussed the change at the official Google blog.

“After listening to feedback from our users and from privacy advocates, we’ve concluded that it would be a good thing for privacy to significantly shorten the lifetime of our cookies – as long as we could find a way to do so without artificially forcing users to re-enter their basic preferences at arbitrary points in time,” he said.

The 2038 cookies will go away, and a two-year cookie will be baked to replace it. While it looks like a significant change on the surface, Google’s cookie will effectively function for regular Google users just like the current cookie does.

As Fleischer explained, the two-year cookie auto-renews every time a browser visits Google. Instead of that fixed expiration date 31 years from now, those cookies will gain new life with every subsequent Google visit.

A long-lived cookie becomes one with serial immortality. People with concerns about cookies on their machines should manage them with their browser’s tools, if they really want to control how long a cookie, Google’s or anyone else’s, resides on their machines.

Google Crunches Its Cookies Faster
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  • http://www.standoffsystems.com scott adie

    I suppose those who only go to Google every few years (how is that possible?), might find some privacy-solace in cookies expiring after two years but I wonder. Somebody ought to try it and see how long they can avoid the Google Cookie Monster. As for me, I’m only there 600 to 10,000 times a day so I’m probably not a good abstinance candidate. Intervention Please!

  • http://www.quickegreets.com Christopher R Slater

    I never ever use or allow cookies other than email web sites and business or financial issues, I have them blocked other than for sites I choose and wish to use.

    I never use the web browser cache in the same way, and after every email session or using a site for business finance etc I clear the lot and block all further.

    If an every day web site requires cookies or pop ups I do not use that this site at all, like many wise web users.

    A vast endless number of global professional web site creators are also trying to open every clickable link on a web site in a new browser page (as a pop up effectively), with nearly all web browsers preventing pop ups today are these site creators actually capable?

    They think having multiple pages showing in a browser makes their job look well done to server logs, it makes no difference as it

    • Drew

      You are overly paranoid about cookies. They are a highly useful, and benefecial tool. I use them on all the websites I design. Infact, people who disable cookies are not allowed on my site at all (due to security risks). By disabling cookies, you are opening yourself up to session hijacking (for the sites that then pass the sessionid parameter through the url).

      >>If an every day web site requires >>cookies or pop ups I do not use that >>this site at all, like many wise web >>users.

      This is a rather ignorant comment. Sure, their are the websites out their that use cookies for crazy, random stuff (to which 99% can’t do any harm anyways)… and i would label this category to around maybe 2% of the websites out their.

      However, the other 98% honest websites use it to track who you are from page to page, or to save preferences on how you want the page displayed. It is all about user preferences, remembering login information etc. If you don’t like entering your username/password on every single page load, that is fine by me. But I am not going to over some silly paranoia.

      • Guest

        Drew, you are either a blatant liar, or a complete fool.

  • http://www.corephp.co.uk Richard Davey

    It’s just a flaming cookie. I couldn’t care less what date they set it to expire on my PC. Privacy activists need to spend their time on something worthwhile.

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