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Google to cut lifetime of `cookies'

July 17, 2007|From Bloomberg News

Google Inc., owner of the world's most popular search engine, said it would address privacy concerns by reducing the lifetime of "cookies" installed on the computers of people who visit its website.

The cookies, files planted on personal computers to track Internet use, will automatically expire two years after the last visit to Google's site, Peter Fleischer, the company's chief privacy lawyer, wrote Monday on the company's corporate blog. Mountain View, Calif.-based Google previously designed its cookies to expire in 2038, he said.

The European Union's data-protection agency has criticized Google for holding on to user information for too long. The New York State Consumer Protection Board on May 9 urged U.S. regulators to delay Google's $3.1-billion takeover of online advertising company DoubleClick Inc. until the company better protected consumers' privacy.

"After listening to feedback from our users and from privacy advocates, we've concluded that it would be a good thing for privacy to significantly shorten the lifetime of our cookies," Fleischer wrote.

Shares of Google rose 83 cents to $552.99.

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