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Old 08-10-2011, 12:41 AM   #1
LoisWakeman
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Default Can Google see one's browsing history?

Yesterday, I was working on a client's site that needed me to search for a particular holiday property on a web site I had never visited before.

Today, that same site is appearing as a banner ad from Google in one of my usual sites to visit. (Photography-based, so would expect phiotography ads, not holiday ones, by default.)

So, can Google get at my hsitory to see what I am up to? Or is it just coincidence?

(This happened in IE, not Chrome)

I may do some experiments to see if the same happens with other sites I have never visited previously.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:35 AM   #2
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>> So, can Google get at my hsitory to see what I am up to?

Can I infer that you were at the client's site yesterday but not today, and were using one of their PCs then but not now? IOW, different IP address, different Mac address, no way for cookies to follow you from yesterday to today?

If you took your laptop to the client's office, I'd think this would be trivial for Google. You could help them by signing in, but even if not, a cookie would be enough to tie your PC to a browsing history in their database (w/o tying it explicitly to you personally)

   
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:42 AM   #3
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I should have been clearer - this was all done on my own PC. But I thought cookies were supposed to be private to the site that created them, not for Goggle to rootle about in, or the site to give away to a third party (Google in this case). Some hope, perhaps.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:04 PM   #4
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>> But I thought cookies were supposed to be private to the site that created them,

Definitely so.

>> not for Goggle to rootle about in, or the site to give away to a third party (Google in this case). Some hope, perhaps.

But if you're searching in Google, the cookies are theirs to set, and later theirs to read so they know what ads to feed you, no? IOW, they shouldn't be able to track what you do on the sites you've visited other than Google, but the fact that you clicked a link TO the third party site while on Google's search results page ... food for the maw.

   
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:09 AM   #5
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The thing is, I didn't search for the site - I typed the URL in directly. So, it is in my private (?) browsing history, but not my search history. The flash cookies thing is worth looking at I think - thanks Terrie!
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:12 AM   #6
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Probably that site set a doubleclick cookie? - Google owns DC. As one who periodically places ads through Google I want them targetted at people that visit my sort of site. The better G targets the ad placements then the greater the click through rate.

As I use Firefox with AdblockPlus I almost never see ads...... With IE you can always turn on InPrivate Browsing

   
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
kelvyn: As I use Firefox with AdblockPlus I almost never see ads..
Thank goodness for AdBlock Plus! It was funny but a few months ago, I got an email from Paypal (a real one) asking me to participate in a survey which I did. All the questions were about seeing Paypal ads and I'd never seen any because of AdBlock. Whoever designed the survey never thought to ask if I were using ad blocking software...rather dumb of them I'd say...'-}}

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Old 08-12-2011, 07:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoisWakeman View Post
The thing is, I didn't search for the site - I typed the URL in directly. So, it is in my private (?) browsing history, but not my search history. The flash cookies thing is worth looking at I think - thanks Terrie!
Ah, I see. I was pretty sure we were talking at cross-purposes here. Everything I was writing was mentally prefaced with "I'm sure Lois knows this, hope she doesn't get annoyed with me carrying my coals to her Newcastle, but ..." ;-)

   
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:20 AM   #9
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lois: The flash cookies thing is worth looking at I think - thanks Terrie!
You're welcome...they are insidious...

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Old 08-10-2011, 06:35 PM   #10
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Google saves every search you do, forever. They claim that it doesn't violate their mission of "don't be evil."

   
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