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google cookie

 7:57 pm on Aug 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can anyone here comment on the google cookie? This is the first I have heard that google tracks all searches via cookie and IP. It is ostensibly used for personalizing searches, but it is basically a wiretap on your searching.

Does this not taint the purity of results if the results are different for different people?



 10:10 am on Aug 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

You've been reading Everymans [webmasterworld.com] site again.


One of the most indefensible arguments every put forth in an internet debate.

It is 2004 dudes - wake up. The cookie wars were in 1996.

I have 1000 cookies in my browser cookie jar. I'd guess 90% of them are far worse than the Google cookie.


 11:13 pm on Aug 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes, we all have tons of cookies and most are harmless, but how does that validate the concept of providing different results for different people searching for the same phrase?

And I dont think it is common knowledge that IP's are tracked by google - atleast it wasnt for me.


 1:42 am on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

You've been reading Everymans site again.

Nope he's been reading Scarecrow's [webmasterworld.com] site again. ;)


 1:51 pm on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't worry so much about the Google cookie. The Google toolbar with advanced features is more important to worry about.


 5:28 pm on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

The Google toolbar with advanced features is more important to worry about.

When the toolbar phones home for PageRank it reads your Google cookie with the unique ID in it. If you don't have a cookie it gives you one. The toolbar is able to track your surfing because of the cookie. Without the cookie, the toolbar would have to rely only on your IP address for tracking.


 7:09 pm on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here is what google says they use the cookie for:
"Google does this by storing user preferences in cookies and by tracking user trends and patterns of how people search."

And here is what info google tracks for user searches:
" Google collects limited non-personally identifying information your browser makes available whenever you visit a website. This log information includes your Internet Protocol address, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your query and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser."

So the cookie is not as harmless as most run of the mill session cookies and google is not as non-invasive as most people think.

They track who you are (your ip does uniquely identify you even if your cookie is disabled - as the RIAA can attest), what you search and when and they keep that information. That is an aweful lot of info they are compiling on every person.

Now how about those tie ins to the federal govt?
They will share these dosiers with third parties if:
" We conclude that we are required by law or have a good faith belief that access, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of Google, its users or the public."

It is a no-brainer these days to conclude reasonable necessity for sharing this info for the safety of the public.

So it seems reasonable to conclude google is spying on us and sharing that info.

But my real quesiton is not about privacy. It is about google's crazy idea that search results are somehow changed based on past history. You searched for timbuktu yesterday and email readers today, so I will show you email readers in timbuktu.

That is not a sensible idea - ever. If the user wants email readers from timbuktu, they can add it to the line. But how can a user exclude things google adds from his history that he doesnt know is being included in the search?


 7:26 pm on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>>It is 2004 dudes - wake up.

I haven't heard that word dudes since,I don't know,hmmm, maybe 1996.;)


 7:32 pm on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

>It is 2004 dudes - wake up. The cookie wars were in 1996.

Actually Cookies were invented in 1994 by Lou Montulli :)

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