Gold'en Rant : Personalised Web search data retention - who are they kidding?

I was distinctly less than impressed by the tidal wave of hand-wringing and sympathetic noises coming from Google, Yahoo and a number of other search engine portals over the last week, following worries about customer privacy.

In case you missed out on the story, some industry experts had expressed privacy concerns about the length of time the search engine portals are storing personalised details of search requests on their systems.

The searches can be personalised, you'll be interested to hear, by recording the IP address and other details, of the connection and computer that made the request. When you factor in the use of cookies, you have a nice Big Brother scenario.

Claiming to be responding to user requests, brand leader Google last month reduced its search engine data lifespan to 18 months, a timeframe that's also been adopted by Microsoft, the third-largest search engine portal.

Yahoo, the number two search engine, operates a 13 month lifespan for its search records, as does AOL, which is the fifth largest search engine in the US.

But Ask.com, the number four search engine, is going further with a yet-to-be-released Web tool called AskErase that will reportedly allow users to block the retention of specific search terms and the IP address that identifies a user's computer.

That's more like it. But the slightly bad news is that AskErase will require users to take a pro-active approach to protecting their

privacy.

Only a small percentage of Web users will, I suspect, use this option. The bottom line to all of this? Someone, somewhere, can easily check your Web search habits and then use that information to target even more marketing crap at you.