Search Engine Use 2012

Mar 09, 2012

About two-thirds of search engine users disapprove of the collection of information on their searches for the purpose of personalizing their future search results and an equal proportion of all internet users disapprove of being tracked for the purpose of getting targeted ads.

These findings are a backdrop for the ongoing policy debates about privacy, collection of personal information online, and the enthusiasm for targeted search and targeted advertising among companies. They also arise as Google implements a new privacy policy in which information about users’ online behavior when they are signed into Google’s programs can be collected and combined into a cohesive user profile. This includes material from Google’s search engine, the Google+ social networking site, YouTube video-sharing site, and Gmail.

When it comes to limiting access to personal information online, 38% of internet users say they are aware of ways they themselves can limit how much information about them is collected by a website. Among this group, the most common strategies include deleting web histories, using the privacy settings of websites and changing their browser settings.

Read the full report, Search Engine Use 2012, on the Pew Internet & American Life Project Web site.

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