Google Has Web History On Its Side

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A new feature from Google goes beyond the search history it can retain for people; their Web History option would keep track of every page a person visits.

 Google Has Web History On Its Side
Google Has Web History On Its Side
 Google Has Web History On Its Side

Probably everyone has run into a moment where they know they saw something on a web page that could answer a question right now, but they can’t remember the website or anything else about the page beyond that.

Perhaps Googlers have that happen to them. Maybe a lot of people have asked for the Web History feature to help them keep their heads above the rising tide of information coming from all directions.

"Imagine always knowing exactly where you saw something online, like that priceless YouTube video of your friend attempting to perform dance moves from a bygone age," Google’s Payam Shodjai wrote at the Official Google Blog about the new service.

It’s open to Google Account holders who use Google’s Toolbar with PageRank enabled. Web History would be available across computers, since Google stores the information. Web History supercedes the Search History feature, and replaces that name.

As in Search History, Web History items can be removed from the list as desired. Since it’s connected to one’s Google Account, it can only be viewed by logging in first. But as Google noted in its Privacy FAQ for Web History, they do keep a separate logging system for auditing purposes. It’s conceivable a Web History item could persist within Google’s memory after it has been deleted.

With Google facing privacy questions over its DoubleClick purchase, the announcement of Web History seems poorly timed. Coupled with the very public battle Google had with the Department of Justice over a request for search information, people may be leery of leaving a complete, personally identifiable web browsing trail where it could be subpoenaed in a legal case.

But Danny Sullivan noted that people running the Google Toolbar with PageRank enabled have been giving Google a web history anyway. By making the Web History feature available, at least people have the option of managing that trail of visits now.

Google Has Web History On Its Side
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