Google to cut down on storage of web cookies

MUMBAI: In a bid to reduce mounting concerns over privacy issues, Google today announced that it would soon begin deleting cookies it stores on the computers of millions of users that track their online habits.

The cookies, which under current configuration last upto the year 2038, will be replaced by new cookies from the internet search giant "in the coming months". The new cookies will expire within two years after a user visits its website, but they will be updated each time they return.

Cookies are small data files that are downloaded automatically to computers when a website is visited. They identify users on later visits and gather information on their surfing behaviour and preferences. ‘Third-party cookies‘ can be used to track a consumer’s progress across several sites – valuable information for advertisers, but this data that is also perceived as intrusive on most occasions.

Google’s commercial ambitions rest on it acquiring massive amounts of data from its users. Cookies play a key part in Google‘s efforts to customise its services for individual users and it helps target online advertising.


Google‘s global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer said, "After listening to feedback from users and privacy advocates, we have concluded it would be a good thing for privacy to significantly shorten the lifetime of our cookies. These steps are part of our ongoing plan to continue innovating in the area of privacy to protect our users."

Earlier this year, a report from Privacy International placed Google at the bottom of its online privacy rankings and claimed the company had an institutional hostility to privacy.

The recent concern over the use of cookies has been spurred by the company‘s $ 3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick, an internet advertising firm which has been controversial in the past for its use of invasive techniques.

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