Posted December 17, 2008 7:46 am by with 14 comments

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It’s not often that Yahoo makes a move bold enough to put pressure on Google. Today it does just that, with news that it will reduce its data retention policy from 13 months to just 3.

At a time when Google is pushing ahead with actively using personalized data to improve search results, Yahoo is banking on our fears that search engines know too much about us already.

Under Yahoo’s new policy, the company will strip out portions of users’ IP addresses, alter small tracking files known as “cookies” and delete other potential personally identifiable information after 90 days in most cases. In cases involving fraud and data security, the company will anonymize the data after six months.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo also said it will expand the scope of data that it anonymizes to encompass not only search engine logs, but also page views, page clicks, ad views and ad clicks. That information is used to personalize online content and advertising.

Google has been reluctant to make a similar move, claiming that it needs at least 9 months worth of data–in order to keep improving its search results.

Here’s what I’d like to hear from you. Are you really that worried about the data kept by the search engines? For me, I’m not exactly buzzing with excitement over this announcement. Now, if Yahoo were to allow me to export all of my data, that would be a cool move.

  • While I don’t really care what the search engines know about me… I fear there really are so many paranoid folk out there that will really think this is the next giant leap.

  • Their data retention really doesn’t matter to me, and I believe that Google will bank on the fact that most people feel the same.

    Jill’s last blog post..A Common Pitfall for E-commerce Home Pages

  • Yawn.

    David Leonhardt’s last blog post..Do Bounce Rates Really Count?

  • @David – don’t hold back on me, what do you really think? 😉

  • If they cut data retention to 3 months they loose all the seasonality data. Not sure if is good idea

    colours at seo’s last blog post..éviter link inyenction

  • Yeah seems pretty blah to me…

    export would be slick though

  • I am definitely thinking so.

    Blog Expert’s last blog post..How I Gained 200 RSS Subscribers in 2 Days

  • My guess is that, besides cost, Yahoo hasn’t figured out how to add value with that extra data. Personally, I’d prefer they figure out how to use the data to improve the search experience.

    Ed Kohler’s last blog post..Wisconsin Fashion: Matching Couples

  • I am rarely logged into either one when searching and I really don’t care for personalized search. I tend to search for obsure things like Greek history since 1900 or Scottish dress in pre 1000 (kids’ school reports) and I don’t want my results obscured by what Google/Yahoo thinks I’m looking for.

    That being said, I’m not paranoid about the data they may be harboring.

    cd :O)

  • This is the kind of question that is probably better asked of people who are NOT in search marketing. When we ask these kinds of questions of ourselves are we getting answers that represent the wider public? Hardly. I don’t even think most people have a remote clue about what is or is not being saved and sorted on them.

    Honestly, I am more interested in how many people treat Google like ChrisCD does. I suspect that the vast majority of Google searchers are not signed in and wouldn’t know the difference if they were or not. Just one man’s opinion.

    Frank Reed’s last blog post..Merry Christmas to All

  • Teshin

    To my own point of view, what really hurts me is when you know they sell your data to tiers-company. They have a great porto folio about everyone, for sure, it is amazing how much information we can retrieve when one choose a iGoogle template for instance! This kind of information can detect where the user is in the buying-cycle for instance, guess who would be interested if you’re about to buy a new cell phone and how much they’ll pay for?

  • Yeah seems pretty blah to me, export would be slick though

  • I hope google will not follow.

  • I gotta say that I think it’s a bold move that would impress a great deal of those who are stressed about the amount of info the search engines have access to (me being one of them).. but I doubt that too many people will care one way or the other about it