back to article Ask.com unveils anti-Google tool

As Google plays games with its cookies, semi-rival Ask.com is actually getting serious about privacy. The web's fourth-leading search engine is giving web users a brand new tool that ensures their search results will not be retained by the company - at all. As the company points out, that's a first among major search engines. …

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, but why do we need a TOOL to do it?

The much simpler answer would be, as a matter of course, to delete ALL search queries as soon as they have been answered.

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Read the article...

Please read the fine article properly before you start ranting...

"Anonymous user data can be very useful to enhance search products for all users, [snip]" - CEO Jim Lanzone.

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Google TrackMeNot

Those who have moved on from Internet Destroyer to Firefox can use TrackMeNot http://mrl.nyu.edu/~dhowe/trackmenot/ . This submits semi random searches in the background to google from a dynamic word list. Your real searches are then obscured in the noise generated by track me not. This means the data Google have collected on you is effectively worthless as it is noise, not data, this means it is not worth collecting. If enough people use tools like Track Me Not the search engines will give up on the expense of storing huge quantities of random data for no profit very quickly.

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Speaking of Double Click

I notice that my firewall is blocking some ads on el Reg from the demon spawn.

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Anonymous Coward

If I was El Reg, I'd block you Dillon

Taking content without having the decency to help them pay. It's people like you that lead to bad practice. You should keep your mouth shut until you remove yourself from the problem list.

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Cookies

I stopped using Ask years ago when I realised how many cookies the damn thing tried to install on my PC. MUCH more than from Google, from what I remember.

I don't allow any cookies from Google anyway, so if they do collect any stats from me, it is only for single, unconnected, searches which I'm not concerned about.

I think it's changed now, but all the links Ask showed used to be redirected from their servers, rather than being direct, so they could track which of the results you actually followed-up. As far as I know, Google have never done this (except for the adword links, but that's to be expected)

I'm not saying Google are the nice fluffy consumer-friendly bunch they would like us all to believe, but pot, meet kettle.

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Use a search aggregator

IXQuick does its level best to protect your privacy, and deletes your search queries.

http://eu.ixquick.com/uk/protect_privacy.html

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Silver badge

@the anonymous critic of Dillon

Although you have a point, there are always those who will accept an invasion of privacy, and the appearance of advertisements all over a web page. So I thank you for allowing ads and the tracking of your internet usage. For it is folk like you that will keep the internet alive and free for those of us who block everything we don't want to see.

On the other hand it is unfortunate that surfers do allow cookies and click on ads, it only encourages the "bad practice" of filling the Internet with advertising.

I rarely ever see an advert these days and I never accept cookies, except from a few trusted domains. If a site requires me to allow cookies, I go find the information I am looking for elsewhere. I never ever see those distracting and often noisy flash adverts. My girl doesn't block any ads whilst surfing. When I look at her screen it is a mess of flashing\changing images and colour. On some pages it is so bad it overwhelms the content.

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Cookies? WTF

Well, blocking cookies won't stop Google from storing anonymous search information. Also, unless you use an ISP that frequently changes your IP address, Google will be able to put together a pretty clear profile of each user's search patterns.

And people who use trackmenot are just degrading the search experience for everyone else. If Google do actually tweak their search algorithms based on collected data, then submitting multiple (semi-)random searches will just degrade google's ability to optimize their service.

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