“Today, we’re announcing a new logs retention policy: we’ll anonymize IP addresses on our server logs after 9 months. We’re significantly shortening our previous 18-month retention policy to address regulatory concerns and to take another step to improve privacy for our users.”
While this is good news to some, Fleischer doesn’t forget to point out that such measures could also be the starting point for significant drawbacks in terms of quality. Less previous data means the company will find it’s much harder (no pun intended) to provide its users with the best search results:
“Although that was good for privacy, it was a difficult decision because the routine server log data we collect has always been a critical ingredient of innovation. We have published a series of blog posts explaining how we use logs data for the benefit of our users: to make improvements to search quality, improve security, fight fraud and reduce spam.”
“When we began anonymizing after 18 months, we knew it meant sacrifices in future innovations in all of these areas. We believed further reducing the period before anonymizing would degrade the utility of the data too much and outweigh the incremental privacy benefit for users. ”
In related news, Google also announced plans to change the way its Google Suggest feature works, so the service would gain in terms of privacy.