Google’s intention has always been to improve the quality of searchresults for users of Google search. In fact, Google’s mission tatement is “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful”. Yet, in the process of doing so, Google has come under scathing criticism from various fronts because of the advantage and power it gets by having access to enormous amounts of private data, be it personal or corporate.
The group placed Google right at the bottom simply because Google amassed tremendous amounts of user information, personal data and behavioural patterns, because of incomplete and vague privacy policies and also because of a lack of response to complaints.
The same year, Google was singled out by a European Union advisory group and the Norwegian Data Inspectorate for scrutiny due to similar fears.
Let’s look at what aspects of search engines’ privacy policies is everyone most concerned about. Quite simply, privacy protection groups are worried that search engines retain too much information that they collect when users make search queries for far too long-data retention. Although Google claims that it has a policy of wiping out all personal data of users after two years of collection, it has not soothed nerves. Two years is still too long for many.
The process of information collection has also raised many eyebrows amongst those who think search engines are downright unethical. Let’s delve deeper into how Google collects this information. In 2002 it was revealed that Google placed a cookie on every user’s computer. This cookie tracked and stored information about the user’s search history and search preferences. This cookie is what expires two years on, but still renews itself every time a user queries a search on Google.
However, it is also held that Google is singly held unethical only because it is in a dominating position in the search market. All other popular search engines like Yahoo! and Live Search use such cookies with distant expiration dates and carefully track a user’s Web and search footprints. A foray into contextual advertising isn’t making all this big search firms look any less unethical.
Evidently, an appropriate balance needs to be struck by these search engines, particularly the bigger and more popular ones; a balance between meeting user’s needs on the web more specifically or accurately and proper protection, usage and appropriate retention of massive private data that the amass.
Crawler based search engines are improving their website crawling mechanism by the day. Crawlers are now looking at crawling new HTML forms to discover new web pages and URLs that would otherwise not be found or indexed.
This has proved to be a headache for corporate firms and other organizations. These big improvements mean that a company wants to spend more time and more resources to ensure that search engine spiders do not unintentionally crawl and subsequently, list data that a firms might want to keep private.