Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Google may be looking for your personal information

In conversation with industry analysts, Google CEO Eric Schmidt indicated that Google may soon require usernames, passwords and personal information to use their services.

Google Discusses Strategy With Analysts - BizReport:

"- Google is likely to require its users to begin providing personal information to use some of its products and services, said CEO Eric Schmidt. Requiring people to provide their identity and a password to gain service access is common at many Web sites, but would be new for Google. Having more personal information would enable Google to offer more useful improvements, Schmidt said. He didn't provide a timetable or specify which services might require registration."

Thanks to beSpacific: User Registration Down the Road for Google? for the link.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is some controversy about whether or not Google is a privacy-friendly conversation. What information do they store in your cookie? In addition to your preferences (such as how many results you wish to see per page), the cookie has a unique ID. This allows Google to record every search you have ever made since that particular cookie has been on your computer. And of course the cookie is set for a long expiry date (sometime in 2038). Do they actually keep those records? Probably. Can they associate the record of every search you have ever made with your identity? Possibly, particularly if during the lifetime of the cookie you have ever used a service of Google that required you entering an email address. Even if you haven't, they know your IP address and can sometimes get information from that. Alternatively, if the US government knows your IP address, under the Patriot Act they can subpoena from Google information about all the searches you have made from that computer.

It's easy for users to circumvent Google's "immortal cookie" by setting their browsers or firewall not to accept cookies from Google. But then Google won't remember your preferences. Why doesn't Google give you the option of a Google cookie which stores your preferences, but not a unique ID that can track your search history? Also, Google should give the option of not storing your IP address.