Privacy Groups in Europe have been worried about how data stored by Google about individual users’ Internet access and search habits could infringe on user privacy.
Google stores all user information with the aim of mining the data and providing users results that are personalised to their individual preferences. In order to do so, Google tracks data not only via logs from users that have signed in, but also through cookies, IP addresses and usage data from Google software such as the toolbar.
After discussions with Privacy stakeholders in Europe and the U.S., Google have announced that they will now anonymize server logs after 18-24 months so that they can still provide more personalised results, uphold quality of their search index whilst protecting user privacy.
Critics are still worried that this might not be enough, especially with some of the other services such as Google Mail, where emails get scanned without the users’ permission and ads delivered according to the contents of the email.