Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tools, Gadgets, and Widgets - Search Engine

Google has announced it's changing its privacy policy.  On the surface, the policy changes seem harmless enough. They are meant to simplify the Google experience across all Google platforms: Gmail, Search, Youtube. Google wants to give each user a personalized experience. In a nutshell, users will be tracked to provide them with ads based on searches or preferences.  So what, right? That's what I thought until I read tech guru, Tod Maffin's article about why he stopped using Google to search the Internet. You should read the article, too.

Now I don't mean to be a Chicken Little, but privacy issues are something to give serious thought to. Facebook has launched the new Timeline which will list all of your Facebook stuff from the time you joined Facebook. Users can also add pictures and things going back to their birth, if they desire. Again, it seems harmless. Users also have the option of blocking or deleting status updates though you have to go back and look at each one. Maybe in a fit of not thinking, you uploaded a silly picture of yourself or made a rude status comment, or something you wouldn't want an employer or potential employer to see. (Though you really shouldn't be posting things that could come back to bite you.)

What to do? First, make sure of your privacy settings. Do you want to share all about you with the world or only with friends? What about search engine tracking? Tod has suggested using another search engine, Duck Duck Go. Duck Duck Go is ad free and your search results aren't tracked and reported to third party companies.

I gave Duck Duck Go at test run by searching on my name. Pleased to see that my webpage and LinkedIn page, and blog came up at the top of the page. Even a search for Pony Express yielded results though I had to scroll to the very bottom of the page. (Who woulda thunk there were so many Pony Express sites!)

Duck Duck Go doesn't offer the option to search just for images the way Google does. I miss that feature. Perhaps, Duck Duck Go will offer an image search as more and more people use their search engine.

And Duck Duck Go has followed Google's doodle idea by changing their logo. The handsome, incognito duck is reminding you today is Data Privacy Day.

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