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Should Privacy Search Command Be Standard?

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One of the issues facing the search engine industry is privacy. People aren’t necessarily keen on the fact search engines store each and every query executed as well as the applicable IP information. Remember the AOL debacle? In light of those events, you’d have to think active search engine users would welcome a command that ensures their privacy.

Thanks to the guys at poundprivacy.org (written as #privacy), we may soon have one.

The #privacy approach is pretty simple. What they suggest is if you wish to make a query private (the search engines won’t store it), you end the keyphrase being searched with #privacy. For example, a private search for online marketing would look like this – online marketing #privacy. As you can see, this is a relatively simple exercise. The only missing element is acceptance from the search engines.

Their site explains further in an open letter to the Big 4:

The #privacy standard as offered by www.poundprivacy.org makes it incredibly easy for all search engines – major search engines (and potentially site searches) – to empower their users to protect their own query privacy. The standard is simple: if a user includes #privacy in a search query, the search engine should not associate that IP (or other tracking mechanism such as cookies) with the query, nor should that query be made available via public or private keyword tools such as Google Suggest or Overture Keyword Selection tool.

The reason the group chose the “#” character is because none of the Big 4 use the symbol as a special operator. This means the #privacy command would not interfere with existing commands. As far as I can tell, most of the search pundits believe this is a very good idea and one that should be adopted. Now the question becomes will the search engines accept #privacy’s standard? The ball is now in their court.

Chris Richardson
Staff Writer | WebProNews

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Should Privacy Search Command Be Standard?
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