Ask.com is to allow users of its search engine to delete all of their queries from their server – a stark contrast to other major search engines, especially Google.
Listening to the concerns of the users of Internet generally, and that of search engine users specifically, the “privacy switch” will erase the terms used to search, the links clicked, the searchers IP address, and any user or session identifier – all “within a number of hours.”
If you go for the option of not having your data stored, a cookie will be stored on your machine, that will last for 24 months, but you won’t get the benefits of personalisation, obviously.
Specifically Homepage Skins won’t work – you will not be able to choose a background, or “skin”, for our homepage, nor will their MyStuff feature – so you won’t be able to access the MyStuff system, or save web links, images, or any other aspects of search results.
There’s a reason that search engines keep data about your search – they learn about you. This benefits them and let’s them present the most relevant advert to you, significantly improving the likelihood of you clicking on them, in turn giving them income.
By letting people remove this, Ask will be losing valuable information that will help them raise revenue, but given the less than premium position that Ask holds in the Search engine world they’ve got to do something radical.
The retention of search information is the Achilles heal of Google and it’s a smart thing that Ask is going by knocking it away.