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Monday, July 16, 2007

Google Shortens Cookie Lifetime

Google in the past was often attacked for its long-lived cookie (a cookie is a local file a website can read and write to save preferences and such, or make sure you’re staying logged in after restarting your PC). In fact, the cookie expiration date of 2038 – so far in the future no one could seriously believe this was a thoughtful pragmatic choice – was considered by one Google critic named Daniel Brandt to be a “barometer” of Google’s “insensitivity to privacy issues,” setting him off to create Google Watch.

Now, Google announced that they will start to decrease the cookie lifetime to 2 years. This likely won’t make any difference in your everyday surfing because a) the cookie lifetime is renewed whenever you visit the Google service in question, b) it was highly unlikely you’d be sitting on the same PC in 2038 anyway. In other words, there is no downside for Google to do this, but there is a big upside to it: they’ve removed one argument from the list of Google criticism.


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