Google Blogoscoped

Friday, April 20, 2007

New: Google Web History

Google renamed their search history service to “web history” and adds one crucial new feature: if you enable this service, and you installed the Google Toolbar with the PageRank bar, then you can now browse through the list of sites you visited in the past. What’s more, you can also search through them, full-text mode. For example, I just visited, the official Google Blog and a couple of other sites. I then searched for “birthday,” a word I remembered in one of’s posts, and the web history feature now presents me with that page – so it’s almost like an enhanced bookmarking feature to help you remember old pages:

On another note, this service now exposes some additional privacy risks should someone ever get hold of your Google account. They will then not only be able to read your emails, or (if enabled) view your search history, or look into your Google Docs, or e.g. your site statistics (if you run Google Analytics), they’ll now also be able to find out about every single web page you visited in the past.

It’s worth pointing out that whether or not you the enable web history, Google can already track your surfing history privately (if you have the Google Toolbar with PageRank add-on, and you’re logged in to your Google account), just like they can track your search history even if you disable this in the setting. (At least in theory – what they do in practice is hard to tell from the outside.)

[Hat tip to Mrrix32, Enrico L. and official Google Blog!]

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