How much are you willing to let Google know about you?

BlogHer Original Post

Are you willing to let Google keep track of every search you make, every page you view, every move you make on the web? Google is betting that you are with its new Web History toolbar. As Google describes the service in its own blog,

Today, we're pleased to announce the launch of Web History, a new feature for Google Account users that makes it easy to view and search across the pages you've visited. If you remember seeing something online, you'll be able to find it faster and from any computer with Web History. Web History lets you look back in time, revisit the sites you've browsed, and search over the full text of pages you've seen. It's your slice of the web, at your fingertips.

How does Web History work? All you need is a Google Account and the Google Toolbar with PageRank enabled. The Toolbar, as part of your browser, helps us associate the pages you visit with your Google Account. If you're currently a Search History user, you'll notice that we've renamed Search History to Web History to reflect this new functionality.

Margaret Kane, writing at C|Net, points out the privacy fears already prickling the backs of necks because of Google's purchase of DoubleClick, saying,

The launch of Google's new Web History product should send those fears into overdrive.

The new service allows you to search and view your entire online life, including which pages you visited and when. Google will also analyze your online travels, revealing which sites you visit most frequently and what your top searches are.

You find your Web History information only when signed in to your Google account. So in theory, only you (and Google) have access to the information. This gives Google a Big Brotherish aspect that might or might not be a good thing in your life. It will be interesting to see how people react to this new service, and whether the pros outweigh the cons over the long term.


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