Google to Maintain Search History

Tomorrow’s Washington Post reports that Google will maintain a list of all searches each individual user has ever made.

Google Accommodates Search History Buffs (WaPo)

Don’t take this personally, but Google wants your Web search history. A new feature offered by the Internet search leader invites people to save and view all the Web searches they conduct at Google. Launched in trial form Wednesday, Google’s “my search history” is designed as a kind of Internet memory aid, giving people new ways to find information they previously saw online and to repeat previous searches.

The search history is an optional feature that requires people to sign in, so Google can store their searching histories online and make them available later from any computer where they might sign in. People who already have an e-mail address from Google’s Gmail site or have registered at its Google Groups site can use those log-ins; anyone can also sign up for a new account

This is potentially quite useful, although this is something one can already do easily using bookmarks. One presumes, though, that this will have significant privacy concerns. Presumably, for example, this information would be available by subpoena for both criminal and civil cases.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Harry Melnick says:

    There is no way that I would ever agree to this svaing my search data. This would enable the current administration to look at everything and anything that interested mme.

  2. Ralph Mugutzup says:

    Yeah sure. Let the facists subpoena and view your subversive searches. this is one fukin bad idea no one needs

  3. C.B. says:

    I agree, I really can’t see myself getting any use out of such a feature.
    It’s sort of like gmail. I actually do enjoy deleting stuff *perminantly*. I do not want or need an archive.

    It is probably intended for marketing purposes, not for spying on you.

  4. Tbird1107 says:

    It says “optional”, right? Besides Google already sticks cookies on your machine when you search. Almost every site you visit does so. I delete ones I don’t need every day.

  5. Brian J. says:

    Plus, you’re only assuming that your searches aren’t already logged somewhere.

    If you assume you have any privacy when you do anything on the Internet, where your every action goes through any number of computers, you’re sadly mistaken.

  6. McGehee says:

    I don’t even need to see certain people’s Google histories to know they probably search often for “What’s the best tinfoil for making my new hat?”

  7. McGehee says:

    BTW, Harry and Ralph: Be sure to check under your beds tonight. You never know where Ashcroft might turn up.

  8. Name says:

    “Yeah sure. Let the facists subpoena and view your subversive searches. this is one fukin bad idea no one needs”

    “There is no way that I would ever agree to this svaing my search data. This would enable the current administration to look at everything and anything that interested mme.”

    I can’t believe these posts.

    You guys are worried about the, SAVING your search data? Don’t you realize when you use _their_ search service you are agreeing to let them use that data how ever they see fit? Same as always, and same as every other search company. How do you think they can create lists of the most popular searches? Believe me there is a trail of information in their system when you use it, how else can they study what works and doesn’t? This is hardly some big brother sitting in your google-bar. It’s there for your convience. The original article says it’s the same thing as bookmarks, but that’s just not true. You have to organize your bookmarks and know it’s there. The average user has a mess of bookmarks in a huge list. When y ou go to make google searches your google search history is available. Without bookmarks. That’s a great thing. I love how the press loves to jump on google for anything that might imply they are violating your privacy, which is about the stupidest thing I ever heard. All companies have these agreements you implicitly agree to when you make use of their services.

  9. Eric says:

    If you’re searching something you’re paranoid about, switch to Yahoo. Or find a favorite obscure search site, and use them.

    If you’re that paranoid, you should have cookies turned off anyway.