After receiving heavy criticism over its privacy policies, Google has announced a new policy to limit the amount of time it keeps users' personal search data to 18 months, down from the previous 24 month period.

"It is indeed a good step," Franco Frattini, the EU justice and home affairs commissioner said. "I have appreciated the commitment of Google not only to meet our expectations in terms of protection of privacy or better on cutting the time and reducing the time of retention of personal data."
Other concerns raised by EU experts remain to be addressed, including how the search giant uses information collected from cookies, or small data files it installs on web surfers' computers to gather insights on usage. Google claims data retention is necessary to deliver more relevant results and advertisements. Just recently, London-based Privacy International rated Google the worst on privacy among the Internet's top destinations, the report was dismissed by Google's global privacy counsel, Peter Fleisher; he also said the group had rejected his offers to discuss the study.