Bowing to continued pressure from privacy watchdogs and regulators in Europe, Google has announced it will drastically shorten the amount of time it retains users’ internet search data. The move is being touted as “a significant improvement in privacy terms,” but the search giant also said to be concerned about the potential loss of security, quality, and innovation that may result from having less data. In other words, European regulators are becoming a growing pain for Google and the move is intended to keep them at bay.
IP addresses on Google’s server logs had been kept for 18 months in order to address regulatory concerns and ensure that the company had accurate data to use for innovation purposes. But engineers have reportedly developed a method of preserving more of the data’s utility while also “anonymizing” the IP addresses sooner. For now Google’s balance point is at 9 months, but the search giant did not say when the measure would take effect nor has it detailed how it will anonymize the logs.