Sorry Google, I draw the line here.

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Thursday, April 21, 2005

Few thoughts on Google Search History Tool.

I have been a Google fan from his early search days when people still used say - have you checked Google. Google had a small database. Altavista was still the leader and dotcom was still booming.

I tried GMail account, used Google Maps and Google Suggest etc. You get the picture. I like Google products in general. And I am not alone.

While using Google Desktop search I realized it contacts the internet for no good reason.
I uninstalled it promptly.
I liked the feature, but I cannot trust my information with a company that is very secretive about its products. Trust is bi-directional.

Recently I realized that there may be a greater agenda to the recent surge of Google products and acquisitions.

May 10, 2005: 9:43 pm

@Squeg You present a very compelling argument for convenience. But wouldn’t you rather have such information on your harddisk rather then on Google’s where it can be subpoenaed any time by any lawyer?

After Google Web Accelerator are you now convinced about the direction Big G is taking :)

May 10, 2005: 9:40 pm

> Dude, I can see Google quaking in disbelief that “angsuman” has “drawn the line”.

Reminds you of David and Goliath, doesn’t it ;)

> can we quote you on that?

With pleasure :)

May 10, 2005: 5:14 pm

Dude, I can see Google quaking in disbelief that “angsuman” has “drawn the line”. You are certainly right “trust is bi-directional” - can we quote you on that?

April 24, 2005: 4:47 am

Being big as google gives much more leverage. If you look at their recent product announcements you can see a pattern.

There is no guarantee that others wouldn’t leverage this data. However they will not have all the pieces to the puzzle that Google now has.

I agree, the situation is bleak for privacy concerned citizens everywhere.

> “only to be used in case of suspection”

This sounds omnious!

April 23, 2005: 11:25 pm

Google is big, but who says altavista (or any other search engine) won’t do the same?
In the Netherlands is a lot of arguing about a new (to be)law which says that all ISP’s should save all data of all their clients, “only to be used in case of suspection”

April 22, 2005: 11:33 am

I’ve been using A9 off and on for a couple months now. It uses google’s search engine and adds a few bells and whistles. The biggest of those is that it too tracks your searches storing them in an easilly accessible list of both search terms (by date) and pages visited as a result of those searches.

A9 is tied to your login cookie. In fact, Amazon gives you a tiny discount on all of your purchases if you search with A9 occassionally.

Initially, I felt like you do, too much information. But honestly, convenience wins out. I don’t search for things that I’d mind someone else finding out about. And if I did, I’d do it through an “anonymous” search engine and not logged into A9 or google.

As it is, I use A9 for things I think i’ll want to look for again/keep track of. And I use google for throw away searches that I’d rather not keep seing in the list or have to go through the trouble of deleting from my cache.

All email messages are likely cached on multiple servers. So are IM’s and text messages. There are camera’s everywhere. Pretty much all net traffic is logged by someone’s ISP somewhere. Grociery store cards track our spending just so we can receive discounts. Online or mail order retailers track our spending no matter what. Complete privacy is perhaps impossible these days.

I’ll settle for a world where we can keep that information out of the hands of people that mean us harm. I care more about keeping my name/address/phone number relatively private rather than my searching habits. Sadly, even that is rather difficult for most of us these days.

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