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Ask.com 'eraser' to scrub search requests

11:27 am on Dec 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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From the Globe and Mail [theglobeandmail.com]
Hoping to establish itself as the Internet's least intrusive search engine, Ask.com is empowering people to prevent their search requests from being deposited in data banks.

The new privacy control, called “AskEraser,” is scheduled to be unveiled Tuesday. When it's turned on, the safeguard purges a user's search requests from Ask.com's computers within a few hours.

(...) Because Ask relies on Google to deliver many of the text-based ad links on its pages, Mr. Leeds said some information about search requests and clicks will still end up on Google's computers even when AskEraser is turned on.
12:29 pm on Dec 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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So all the world perverts will use it :)
Plus if some info goes back to G
How much “erasing" could it really deliver?

And what if the FBI, CIA etc… request a given user’s browsing history?

2:50 pm on Dec 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The biggest challenge for Ask is to develop even a reasonably good search engine. In terms of relevance or number of pages indexed or eliminating spam, Ask is simply a terrible search engine. Unless you are obsessed with privacy, I don't even know who visits it.
3:07 pm on Dec 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Haha this is funny, for one thing they don't "erase" they just say they don't save the info. Also there seems little point if the info is not stored by Ask but, it IS stored by Google, when Google is the one company everyone is talking about when it comes to search privacy! Oh, and let me guess, referer data is still sent, and as the whole thing isn't over https it's not secure anyway.

So who are they trying to attract?! Web-savvy privacy advocates will think it's junk, clueless users will get hoodwinked or will ignore Ask and just use Google instead (because they don't care about their privacy enough to switch).

3:36 pm on Dec 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think it's quite a smart marketing move, if nothing else. People do care about their privacy, but most aren't aware of exactly how much they are giving away when they do searches. It's only when you have fiascos such as AOL's accidental release of millions of search queries that this comes to light.

Try explaining to non-webmasters what information is given away by their browsers, and how much can be gleaned through cross-site cookies and web bugs. So long as you're careful not to confound them with jargon, most people are surprised.

3:48 pm on Dec 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Seeing how Ask is even worse than Yahoo...they won't have to "scrub" very much I do believe. LOL. I think Ask is just grasping at straws and will do anything to get a press release out IMHO.
7:15 pm on Dec 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It’s a small one for sure, but at least it’s a start. Just getting people talking about this issue is a positive.

I applaud them for at least that; the only possible way for G & Y to introduce things like this is if the market place forces them to.