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Search Engines, Personal Info & Big Brother Paranoia

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Wired is running an interesting story on what Search engines know about you, with choice quotes from Danny Sullivan and Daniel Brandt, him of the Brandt Rant fame…

Links: Wired
Danny Sullivan
Daniel Brandt

It’s no secret to Threadwatch members, most of which are seasoned SE users and optimizers, that searches reveals a lot of information, and the use of proxies and cookie deletion is the norm if you’re researching competitive areas or checking your own sites. What’s interesting about the Wired piece is that it talks about privacy in terms of the masses, and puts those issues slap bang in front of them.

Cookies and Personalization

The article talks much about the use of cookies cross product on Google, and signup information linking an individual to that cookie such as in a Yahoo! account, or Gmail etc, though they fail to mention Daniels pet peeve, the length of the Google cookie: It expires in 2038.

What they also fail to mention is the recently discovered patent application from Google that details many ways in which big G can use your acceptance of their software, such as the dreaded toolbar, or Desk Top Search apps (which the other engines all provide aswell and thus are quite likely to use in similar ways…) to create and use reems of personal data gleaned from your online habbits.

All in all, as I said, it’s not new to many here, but it’ll be an eye opener to some for sure.

Personally, I couldn’t care less – I dont mind giving up a little privacy for better tailoring of services and the like, and I’m more than capable of hiding my identity when I choose…

Nick Wilson is the publisher and founder of Threadwatch.org.

Threadwatch is a group blog, or forum if you prefer, focusing on Marketing and Related Technologies – News and discussion for those that make their living on the WWW – Register here to participate.

Search Engines, Personal Info & Big Brother Paranoia
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