After the launch of Google’s Chrome Browser there had been a lot of criticism regarding the privacy issues involving the storage of the logs as we query them on Google. It’s quite understood that for a search engine to perform better these logs are important. But to protect user privacy Google has announced its new log retention policy that they’ll clear the IP Addresses on their server logs after 9 months. Earlier this was being done after 18 months.
So what data does Google stores in these logs?
In the first in the series of their privacy video, Maile Ohye who is a support Engineer at Google tells us the answer keeping it plain and simple.
So lets say if you search for a query word “Car” then following data will be stored as a log in Google’s server.
1. Search Query
The query word you searched for. In this case it is Car
It depends on the localized Google domain. For Google.com domain it will be something
3. IP Address
Your computer’s IP address at the time of querying. This is recorded to know your location as well as your Internet provider.
Cookie is a small file stored on your computer. This helps Google to know your preferences like language and no. of results per pages. A cookie doesn’t store your personal details like who are using your computer etc .It’s something like – PREF=ID=03b1d4f329293203:LD=en:NR=10
Your Browser’s user agent which identify the Browser as well as the Operating system it is running on. For example Firefox/220.127.116.11;Windows NT 5.1
Time when query was searched for.
What happens after 9 months
After 9 months when the query was made Google masks the IP Address as well as Cookie information from their records. This duration was 18 months earlier.
So the IP address like 18.104.22.168 will become 72.14.253.XX and the cookie
PREF=ID=03b1d4f329293203:LD=en:NR=10 will be something like PREF=XXXXXXXXXXXXX.
Definitely makes sense! Google is the first search engine to announce such policy.