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Looks like I'll have to find a new search engine thanks to this silliness. Makes it impossible to tell which sites I have already gone to before. And, I'd have hoped that Google wouldn't start spying on their customers like this. My bad thinking that way. For those unaware, with a URL like the above, Google can keep a log of every site that you click on. If you have a static IP, then Google's logs will show all the sites you visit, traceable to your computer. Or if not, at least put in large letters "Big Google is watching YOU" on the home page so that all the users will realize that Google is tracking where they surf.
This is not a new phenomenon, it's been done by Direct Hit for quite a while:
>will show all the sites you visit
Which our ISPs have full information on. It's not something we can do anything about, so personally I don't let myself be concerned over it.
Perhaps you should. Sure, if the government specifically wants to target a certain individual, unless they have taken precautions like using encryption, and proxies is nations that they trust, this information is accessible. However, this is a whole lot different than a big, centralized database like Google, which accessible to the government where they can easily access the surfing records of every Google user. Google is US based, and those who don't trust the current regime in power in the US should be seriously worried about this. I, for one, have no trust or faith in the current US government. And, do you really think that citizens around the planet trust the US government to have logs of all their searches, and which sites they surf to?
RFG, Google's cookies and Toolbar (in advanced mode) allow them to capture data about our searching and browsing habits. Major advertisement networks also can track from site to site. As Marcia points out, our ISP has everything.
Google's outbound referrer tracking just happens now and again, I think it has more application to "how many people click the top, 2nd, 3rd listings" type questions than targeting individuals.
I would love to see the comparison between SERP clicks and AdWords clicks, I bet Google like to see that information too. Remember the little images at the top and bottom of results pages? They like to test their performance.
First step: disable cookies.
Next step is: copy the url that google shows underneath the listing and paste it into a new browser window.
Last step is: get rid of this damn spyware infectable machines and buy a Mac ... however, that's more a philosophical hint that shouldn't be continued as a new discussion. ;)
IMHO the thing is: google and anybody else just tracks as much privacy information of its users as the users are willing to publish. It's all under your controll as long as you don't use a system that has encapsulated spyware / algo / mechanisms built into it's system / software strategy. (No specifics, here ;))
I forgot to mention: tracking user clicks *can* help to learn about the users, to improve search satisfaction and to reduce spam. Don't just stare on possible spyish reasons.
BTW: sure, you use a anonymous proxy to surf the web, don't you? Ever thought about your privacy and the data your provider records? ... c'mon ...
copy the url that google shows underneath the listing and paste it into a new browser window.
but can you?
google often, don't know why, gives out url's like :
yes, the space after the / is there!
why? and how to stop it? is it just google paranoidly trying to make it hard for people to parse google results pages? if so, they aren't hiding the url cos it's in the <a href...>
odd, eh? test it yourself
I, for one, have no trust or faith in the current US government. And, do you really think that citizens around the planet trust the US government to have logs of all their searches, and which sites they surf to?
It's all a conspiracy against you.
They are watching...you...
Plotting and scheming right now...against you. :o
One can disable Google cookies, and nobody has to install the toolbar, let alone in advanced mode. Obviously, if you want to know the PR of a page, you have to tell Google what page you are viewing for them to be able to tell you. Thus, if someone intentionally chooses to tell Google where they surf they can't call it an invasion of privacy. However, what Google is doing is tracking where people surf, without even warning them this is what they are doing. There is a difference. As for ISPs, while theoretically they could log everything every customer does, not likely to happen in the real world. This would require storing massive amounts of useless data. Only IPs and time logged in is routinely monitored. Of course, if any ISP wanted to target any individual user and log everything, this is trivial, and something everyone should be aware of. And again, does everyone who uses Google worldwide want the US Central Intelligence Agency to be able to know where they surfed?
Also, do you remember the conversation we had about picking on Google when other sites need it more? Most other sites use redirects a lot more than we do. ;)
Then why not put up a privacy alert announcing that you are doing this on the SERPs? With the toolbar anyone who reads the agreement should understand the privacy implications.
>Also, do you remember the conversation we had about picking on Google when other sites need it more? Most other sites use redirects a lot more than we do. ;)
Two wrongs don't make a right. For the record, I will acknowledge that Teoma/Askjeeves are doing the same thing. Yahoo! also, but then again only a yahoo would use Yahoo! to search when they can get the same from Google itself. ;) I notice that msn.com isn't spying by using tracking redirects. I'm not sure it is a good thing that Google have a reputation for invading privacy more than Microsoft's search engine.