Ask Adds AskEraser To Maintain User Privacy, Microsoft Joins Them To Evolve Privacy Procedures

Want to make sure your search history is not being recorded? Ask.com has developed AskEraser a tool that will allow you to wipe your search history and will be launching it in the near future, according to their press release.

"Searchers will have easy access to AskEraser and can change their privacy preference at any time. Once selected, searchers' privacy settings will be clearly indicated on search results pages so they always know the privacy status of their searches," the press release stated.

"As search and other online services progress, it's important for our customers to be able to trust that their information is being used appropriately and in a way that provides value to them," said Peter Cullen, chief privacy strategist at Microsoft. "We hope others in the industry will join us in developing and supporting principles that address these important issues. People should be able to search and surf online without having to navigate a complicated patchwork of privacy policies."

"AskEraser is a great solution for those looking for an additional level of privacy when they search online," said Jim Lanzone, CEO of Ask.com. "Anonymous user data can be very useful to enhance search products for all users, and we're committed to being open and transparent about how such information is used. But we also understand that there are some who are interested in new tools that will help protect their privacy further, and we will give them that control on Ask.com."

"Anonymous user data can be very useful to enhance search products for all users, but people should have access to privacy controls based on their level of comfort around the storage of their search data," said Doug Leeds, vice president of product management at Ask.com. "We're committed to developing new ways to give consumers the control they are entitled to when it comes to searching online, and hope others will join us in engaging in dialogue on these important issues."

Microsoft and Ask.com are proposing that leading search providers, online advertising companies and privacy advocates convene to engage in an active dialogue to discuss privacy considerations posed by the proliferation of online advertising and search. The goal of the dialogue is to determine ways that the industry can work cooperatively to define privacy principles that take these new considerations into account. The companies will provide an update on their progress in September.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.