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Monday, December 7, 2009

Google Tracks & Personalizes Even When You’re Signed-Out

Google say they now start to track your search, using a cookie, even when you’re signed out. This allows them to deliver personalized results based on your other searches of the past 180 days. Previously this was only provided to those logged in to their Google Account. In any case, a “View customizations” link is provided at the top right of such customized results, according to Google, who say you can then turn off that feature. The feature will also not be linked to your main Google account, Google says.

Tom Krazit at CNet comments that this “is not just about search results.” By building a profile of past searches, Tom says, “Google can also gain insights into what kinds of advertising you’re most likely to favor, therefore placing more targeted (and expensive) ads alongside those search results”. Tom adds that “Privacy advocates will likely be put off by the fact that this is an opt-out rather than opt-in service.”

Also see some of the problems with personalization.

[Thanks Juha-Matti Laurio!]


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