Many search engines store the IP address information
along with a search query for 18 months or more before deleting the
data. Microsoft announced today that it would improve the privacy of
searches by deleting search information after six months.
wrote in a blog post, "[Microsoft will] delete the entire
Internet Protocol address associated with search queries at six
months rather than at 18 months."
The Wall Street
Journal reports that the change
in how long Microsoft stores search data is in response to
negotiations with European regulators. The move is expected to
pressure search firms like Google to follow suit.
hopes that by deleting user search quires more frequently it can lure
users concerned about privacy to use Bing rather than Google. Google
still claims that it needs to keep search queries stored for up to
nine months to improve search quality and fight fraud. The fraud in
question is termed click fraud and is when users or companies click
on ads repeatedly to run up the advertisers bill with no intention of
Google released a statement saying, "Data from
our search queries represents a crucial arm in our battle to protect
the security of our services against hacks and fraud. It also
represents a critical element allowing us to help users by innovating
and improving the quality of our searches."
ahead of Microsoft and reduced the time it stores search queries to
only three months in 2008. Microsoft reports that it will take a year
to a year and a half to implement the changes to allow the deletion
of queries every six months.
Quentin Archer, an attorney with
Lovells LLP in London told Bloomberg, "It doesn’t do
them [Microsoft] any good to be seen to ignore EU officials.
Microsoft seems to be cooperating while trying to keep the
competitive edge by telling people that Bing is safer than other
reports that Microsoft says it will put the new privacy system in
place only after it's "technically secure and tested in every