Blekko announced some new privacy settings this morning. Personal info (like IP addresses) will now be retained for a maximum of 48 hours. That compares to the 18-month policy employed by Google (and Yahoo), and the 6-month policy employed by Bing.
Blekko’s policy even goes for logged-in users.
Other new privacy-related announcements from Blekko include:
– A new HTTPS Preferred system, which automatically points searchers at HTTPS (secure) websites in many cases
– SuperPrivacy and NoAds opt-out privacy settings allowing users to suppress ads and reduce logging of search keywords
“Blekko provides HTTPS on our own website, but that’s not enough to keep our users’ information private,” said Blekko CTO Greg Lindahl. “If you’re searching a website using insecure WiFi at a café and click on a non-HTTPS Wikipedia link in a search result, anyone nearby could observe what Wikipedia page you are accessing. They could also easily see the search terms you used. But this same search on blekko would ensure that when you click on the Wikipedia link you’ll be protected and your private information secure.”
“Search engines know too much about their users,” he added. “Our goal at blekko is to find a balance between retaining information to improve our search engine, and not retaining information that a user prefers to keep private.”
When Blekko first launched, CEO RIch Srkenta expressed bold aspirations for it to become “the third search engine” alongside Google and Bing. While it has a long way to go before it gets to that kind of status (in terms of both users and quality of search results, based on the image above), it’s clear that Blekko is aiming to differentiate itself from its competitors in more ways than one.
The human curation element of search that is the backbone of the search engine is obviously one way of doing that, and it continues to make other announcements like this – smaller things that some users may find appealing when comparing search engines.
Another example would be the recently launched deeper integration with Facebook. Or the banning of domains deemed to be content farms from search results – a hot issues considering the controversy that has accompanied the Google Panda update.