One Bad Pixel
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Google’s price on privacy

In the wake of the recent Google announcement covered here, I pondered what will happen to the search market and web.

After a while, I realized their new privacy would have dramatic GOOD improvements to the web, but then they had to go spoil it with their caveat.

So here is the deal. They have implemented security in their searching. The referrer data (which website you are arriving from) is no longer transmitted to unsecure sites, which most are not.

On my blog, this makes it so I cannot see what search terms users used to find my site, or whether they were using Google to reach it. This is a small price to pay for the good it will do.

First, my search history is mine. I don’t always want websites to know what I was searching for to find them.

Second, it will eliminate those REALLY REALLY ANNOYING pages which are a collection of keywords that are populated based on your google search terms. If you dont know what I mean, its those things in the google results that APPEAR to have exactly the information you were looking for, but when you click on them, they are just a mashup of more recycled crap from the web. They are one of my biggest pet peeves.

Because the information is still transmitted to other secure servers, it will increase the amount of secure servers on the web. This is good for consumers, because secure sites are a) secure, b) encrypted, and most importantly c) trackable. Because they have to build a security certificate with a trusted authority, it is easy to see who and what they actually are. Because certificates cost money, and are tied to a single host it is economically unlikely that the massive leeches that buy up domains to put their bulk search recyclers online will continue to be able to make any money, since the cost of certificates for each domain would eat into their low profit margins.

This great new stuff comes with a price though. Google decided to f**k it all up by allowing advertisers to BUY into receiving the referrer data. This sucks. It would have been so great to force the advertisers to use secure sites, because that way I can tell who they are and thusly write tools to block them accordingly, but since google allows them to pay to anonymously receive the data, they just circumvented the best part of the change.

I hope they change their minds. The best thing we can do is to discuss it and let them know your displeasure about it. Since they index everything on the web, maybe they will get the message by sheer volume.

Let me know if something needs more information or is inaccurate, so I can update this post accordingly.


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