Happy Birthday “Not Provided” – One Year Since Google Began Withholding Search Terms

google-not-provided A year ago (and a day), Google began encrypting searches for signed-in users, so that the terms they searched for were no longer passed to publishers, except for advertisers. The "single digit" withholding predicted by Google at launch has turned into more than 50% of terms being withheld, in some cases. I explore how things have unfolded over the past year in the search marketing column on our Marketing Land sister-site today. It's written for both those new to the concept of how terms began being withheld as well for search marketing vets who are regular Search Engine Land readers. Be su [...]

How An iOS 6 Change Makes It Seem Like Google Traffic From Safari Has Disappeared

Mobil Safari Icon A change in iOS 6 made by Apple and not anticipated by Google means that for the past week or so -- and likely for some weeks to come -- those reaching web sites from Google's search engine after doing searches from within Safari will be counted as "direct" traffic rather than "search" traffic. As we reported last week, those using the built-in search box within Safari are now having their searches sent though Google SSL Search, if they use iOS 6. Apple apparently made this change in order to increase privacy for searchers. It won't officially confirm that but neither is it saying that [...]

Google’s (Not Provided) Impacting More Than Just SEO Sites

not-provided-featured Think that (not provided) is only impacting SEO-related websites? Think again. The Poynter Institute, a non-profit journalism school that's well known in media circles, wrote Wednesday about the growing impact that (not provided) is having on publisher websites. Author Steve Myers shared what he found after checking Poynter.org's analytics: Keywords were hidden in 29 percent of searches in April. That's up from 22.5 percent in November, shortly after the change was made. Now "(not provided)" makes up the largest category of search terms, dwarfing the second place term: Poynter. Overall, 6 [...]

Video: Google’s Susan Wojcicki Keynotes SMX West 2012

Search Marketing Expo Susan Wojcicki, Google's SVP of Advertising, spoke at our recent SMX West search marketing conference in a keynote conversation with Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman. The conversation covered many different topics -- not just the advertising side of Google where Susan is most heavily involved -- from privacy issues to mobile marketing to how Google started in Wojcicki's garage. While we already provided coverage of the keynote via Greg Sterling's live blog of the conversation, we also have several video clips that our readers may have missed -- and that attendees may wa [...]

Survey Paradox: People Like Google But Not What It’s Doing

Last week the Pew Internet Project released findings of a survey on search, personalization and targeted advertising. In a nutshell, survey respondents had a very positive view of search and the quality of search results. Yet the majority gave an unequivocal thumbs down to search personalization (and behavioral targeting). This isn't necessarily a contradiction or paradox in the abstract, but it is when you consider that the most popular search engine is moving aggressively in a direction most people say they don't want search to go. Here's our earlier coverage of the survey: Pew Repo [...]

Google "Search Plus Your World" To Launch Beyond US? Likely, As Secure Search Set To Expand

google-search-plus-world-featured Google has announced that by default, it will begin encrypting search beyond Google.com in the coming weeks. Since the reason Google uses secure search is primarily to enable its "Search Plus Your World" personalized results, this means SPYW is likely to expand beyond the US. It also means that search marketers can expect the percentage of "not provided" data they see to greatly increase. Secure Search = Search Plus Your World Last October, Google changed things so that anyone logged into Google.com would be searching through a secure connection. That was positioned as a move to increase pri [...]

Google Is Watching You (Or Not): New Privacy Policy Takes Effect Today

google-eyes-featured With several governments and regulatory bodies around the world saying that Google's new privacy policy may violate their domestic rules (Europe, Japan), it goes into effect today. Advocacy group EPIC has been trying to block it saying that the consolidated privacy policy violates Google's earlier settlement with the FTC in the Buzz case/investigation. However that effort was unsuccessful. For its part, Google says the new policy will simplify privacy across Google's many properties and make it possible for the company to build a range of new products and services for consumers, including o [...]

Scroogle’s Gone? Here’s Who Still Offers Private Searching

online-privacy You've probably read the news already that Scroogle is gone forever. It launched back in 2003 and was popular among searchers who wanted to get Google search results in a private setting. Now that it's gone, where can searchers go for a more private search experience than Google and Bing offer by default? Here's a list of a few alternatives. Note that different search engines below make different privacy-related claims; I haven't investigated them in detail -- i.e., by examining cookies, etc. -- so anyone looking for a private search experience should do his/her own research. Private Sea [...]

“Scroogle.org Is Gone Forever” Says Site Owner

A week ago, we reported that Scroogle was being blocked by Google and searches on the privacy search engine were no longer working. Since then, the site continued not to work and now it is completely offline. The owner, Daniel Brandt, said he took it down "forever." He blames both Google and DDOS attack by someone or a group of people who had a personal vendetta with him. He said even if the DDOS attack did not happen, Scroogle would only have lasted an additional 6 months due to Google's throttling and squeezing of the service. Daniel told BetaBeat.com: Scroogle.org is gone foreve [...]

Cookiegate Another Privacy Black Eye For Google

Screen shot 2012-02-17 at 7.39.44 AM Call it "Cookiegate" -- or "Safarigate" perhaps. Late last night we got the Wall Street Journal's piece: "Google's iPhone Tracking: Web Giant, Others Bypassed Apple Browser Settings for Guarding Privacy." Danny covered the article and its claims extensively at Marketing Land. This morning there's an expanding debate about whether the WSJ mischaracterized Google's behavior unfairly or whether the company has in fact been caught with its hand in the cookie jar -- as it were. To recap: Google and other ad networks (i.e., Gannett's PointRoll) were discovered circumventing mobile Safari's defaul [...]

Scroogle Says Google Is Blocking Their Privacy Search Engine

If you try to conduct a search at Scroogle, the portal that lets you search Google in private, Scroogle will tell you that Google is blocking them. I just tested it and Scroogle returns an error message that reads, "so sorry... Google is temporarily blocking this Scroogle server." This happened back in May 2010 as well, and probably happens fairly often. Google told BetaBeat that they are not manually blocking Scroogle but they do have automated systems in place that "deter scraping or excessive queries to Google, and spikes in query traffic can cause issues for some sites." So this [...]

Survey: People Largely Negative About Google’s Personalized Search Results

google-user-sad-frustrated-featured Last month, market research tool provider Ask Your Target Market surveyed 400 US adults about their attitudes toward personalized search on Google. The results were reported today in eMarketer's email newsletter. We went back to the source to check out the survey and discovered that the majority of respondents expressed ambivalence or outright dissatisfaction about Google's new more personalized search results. The first question asked was about the primary search engine used by respondents. Primary search engine: Source: AYTM, n=400 (1/12) Then the survey explored respondents [...]

Google Screenwise: New Program Pays You To Give Up Privacy & Surf The Web With Chrome

google-g-logo-96x100 Google is quietly taking requests from web users who want to get paid to surf the web using the Chrome browser while sharing data with Google. The program is called Screenwise and, though we're not aware of any official announcement, Google has a signup page at www.google.com/landing/screenwisepanel. The page explains that Google wants to create a panel of people to help it "learn more about how everyday people use the Internet." It explains that panel members have to be at least 13 years old, have (or sign up for) a Google account and use the Chrome web browser. They also have to be willin [...]

Google’s New Privacy Policy May Violate HIPAA, Congresswoman Says

google-health-medical Several members of Congress continued to express reservations about Google's new privacy policy after a closed-door meeting on Thursday, with one House member saying that Google's handling of sensitive medical searches may violate HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Members of the House Energy and Commerce committee grilled Pablo Chavez, Google's director of public policy, and Google attorney Michael Yang for about two hours. After the meeting, several of the Representatives expressed their unhappiness with Google's answers on a variety of privacy issues -- quest [...]

Google Announces “_nomap” WiFi Opt-out Option, Wants Other Location Providers To Go Along

wifi-router-x As promised, Google has announced a way for WiFi router owners to stop Google from including them in the company's location database. The opt-out requires a change in the name of the wireless network (the SSID) to include _nomap at the end of the name. In other words, if your wireless network is named "McGeehome," you'd need to rename that to "McGeehome_nomap." (And frankly, I'd prefer you use your own last name while you're at it.) Google says this method "provides the right balance of simplicity as well as protection against abuse. Specifically, this approach helps protect against ot [...]

Guest Opinion: Is Google’s Privacy Move Really An Anti-Competitive Practice?

google-blinds3-featured Fresh on the heels of a free pass from a befuddled congress after admitting that they are a monopoly, Google’s decision to cloak search query strings under the guise of privacy makes it clear they are doubling down on their abusive, anti-competitive practices. Consider the following points: Cloaking the referrer and the query string it contains severely hampers publishers and competing ad networks' ability to monetize site traffic while Google gets to keep all the data and use it to target. The Google display network already had an enormous advantage over competitors. Google is using [...]

Google Puts A Price On Privacy

google-security-lock-featured Earlier this week, Google made a significant change purportedly to better protect the search privacy of users. In reality, it specifically -- and deliberately -- left a gaping hole open to benefit its bottom line. If you pay-to-play, Google will share its search data with you. Google's a big company that goes after revenue in a variety of ways some critics feel put users second. However, I'm struggling to think of other examples where Google has acted in such a crass, it's all-about-the-revenue manner as it has this week. The best comparison I can think of is when Google decided to allow C [...]

Reactions From SEOs Come Loud, Fast & Often Angry To Google’s Switch To Encrypted Search

angry-reaction Google caused a major stir in the search marketing community today with the news that it will begin encrypting searches and outbound clicks by default in some situations. The move means that valuable keyword referral data will not be passed to analytics programs (including Google Analytics) when a logged-in Google user searches from Google.com. Although Google says the change will impact less than 10 percent of searchers, that's still a significant amount of keyword referral data that will now be hidden from website owners. Well, it won't be hidden if those searchers click on one of Goog [...]

Google To Begin Encrypting Searches & Outbound Clicks By Default With SSL Search

google-security-lock-featured Google will now begin encrypting searches that people do by default, if they are logged into Google.com already through a secure connection. The change to SSL search also means that sites people visit after clicking on results at Google will no longer receive "referrer" data that reveals what those people searched for, except in the case of ads. Google announced the news on its blog here, saying: As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver. As a result, we’re enhancing our default se [...]

Google Lets Users Opt Out Of Analytics Tracking, But Doesn’t Expect Many Will

Google has announced the launch of a browser plugin that lets users avoid being tracked by Google Analytics. The company warned two months ago, in the midst of loud privacy-related complaints, that it was working on such a tool. Google says the plugin will work in the following browsers: Internet Explorer, versions 7 and 8 Mozilla Firefox, 3.x and higher Google Chrome It's not available for Safari, but Google's Brian Richardson hinted that may change in the future by saying today's announcement is a "first step" and that Google hopes to "build continuous improvements moving forwa [...]

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