Google Crunches Its Cookies Faster

    July 17, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

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.