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Author Topic: Anonymous Google searches with G-Zapper  (Read 5439 times)

Rohit

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Anonymous Google searches with G-Zapper
« on: December 08, 2006, 12:17:18 AM »
Link : http://www.dummysoftware.com/gzapper.html

From the website:
Quote
Did you know that Google stores a unique identifier in a cookie on your PC, which allows them to track the keywords you search for? They use this information to compile reports, track user habits, and test features. In the future, it is possible they could even sell this information or share it with
others. ...

G-Zapper helps you protect your identity and valuable attention data. ...  G-Zapper allows you to delete or entirely block the Google search cookie from future installation.

Even though I like Google, I am not comfortable about the fact that it maintains tracking information for all searches, for an indefinite time. A few months ago, AOL users' search data was compromised. Even though Google might be more diligent about protecting their users' data, there is always a threat that it can be forced to share the data through a government subpoena.

I have installed this software, and sure enough, there was a 491 days old cookie on my machine. I deleted it, and will be doing so regularly now. :)

GZapperScreenshot.PNGAnonymous Google searches with G-Zapper

cemole

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Re: Anonymous Google searches with G-Zapper
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2006, 06:21:47 PM »
There is another option for anonymous searches if you are using FireFox: Customize Google.

Quote
CustomizeGoogle is a Firefox extension that enhance Google search results by adding extra information (like links to Yahoo, Ask.com, MSN etc) and removing unwanted information (like ads and spam). All features are optional and easily configured from the options menu. View a short introduction movie at www.customizegoogle.com
« Last Edit: December 09, 2006, 06:27:09 PM by cemole »

NigelH

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Re: Anonymous Google searches with G-Zapper
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2006, 06:58:43 PM »
You could always use Scroogle
http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm

Rohit

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Re: Anonymous Google searches with G-Zapper
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2006, 11:34:00 PM »
Thank you, cemole and NigelH.

Customize Google looks very useful; I've installed it and will be trying it out.

Scroogle is also a good solution, but I favor the former because:
(1) I find it very useful to search from Firefox's "search box," and I can't use that for Scroogle, and,
(2) Scroogle blocks the ads, a practice I don't want to support. I do find Google useful, and I'd be happy if it makes some money through advertisements.

Thanks again for your suggestions!

Renegade

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Re: Anonymous Google searches with G-Zapper
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2006, 07:32:01 AM »
Combine Scroogle with TOR and you've got a fantastic way to search for poisons to kill your cheating spouse and ways to dispose of the body!
 :-\
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

dk70

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Re: Anonymous Google searches with G-Zapper
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2006, 09:24:44 AM »
On the other hand Googles Personal Search page is neat. You can see your xxxxx searches, which search engines were used, which results you clicked. All this also spread over time with calendar, 7, 30 etc. days stats or Personal Trends. Almost a dairy. Data is not hidden but part of their Service mania and of course also part of "optimzing" personal advertising/searching.

That was searching but what about Gmail, Docs, Checkout and the rest? If you use most of their services accumulated information will be better than dairy for sure. But danger of not having control over passwords, who access computer is probably a billion times bigger than Google handing out your life story. Google Desktop is out of the question naturally. Many if not most services only require Gmail login, get that and door is wide open.

Rohit sign up for Google Analytics https://www.google.com/analytics/home/ Free and used on many many sites. How much of internet works, tracking is essential and some will scream if you block :) Analytics is Google in a nutshell, all about analyzing and directing traffic efficiently - for whatever reason. Does not have to related to money - is for Google obviously.

Btw, Google says users must be informed when Google Analytics is activated on a site. Very few does that and similar services does not seem to have same openness about them. To prevent unwanted tracking you have to disable cookies and scripting on all sites - only allow it on sites you trust. G-Zapper not nearly enough, other monsters than Google have an interest in you. Get at least No-Script for Firefox http://www.noscript.net/whats and with IE disable all this for internet zone. There are tools for IE to manage this white listing idea. You just crippled browser and many sites but are better protected.

There was a guy who published a button for a Firefox extension. On a forum somewhere. Worked ok but he forgot he left some information in the few lines of script. Like his Gmail login and password  8) Had he been a Google freak his life would have been published with it - thanks to userfriendly sharing of login. Actually I only checked his Gmail account, may be there is more. Could be he keep his banking data in online Doc file!

Rohit

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Re: Anonymous Google searches with G-Zapper
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2006, 11:44:21 AM »
dk70, thanks for your thoughts.

I don't really have anything to hide; most of my searches are about technical stuff, software reviews, programming tutorials etc. The only reason I wanted to anonymize my Google searches was the principle - I don't like that they keep the data indefinitely. But that doesn't address the issue of other sites that track users ...

I recognize the near futility of this gesture :huh: I do use Gmail for most of my mail ... And soon there will be laws throughout the world that will make it compulsory for all companies and ISPs to preserve all emails and log all activities of their employees and users, respectively. Sooner or later, Big Brother will be a reality.  :o

I guess I could just give in and let everybody track me as much as they want. And maybe I will do just that. But not today. :)

Rohit

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Re: Anonymous Google searches with G-Zapper
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2006, 11:48:14 AM »
Combine Scroogle with TOR and you've got a fantastic way to search for poisons to kill your cheating spouse and ways to dispose of the body!
 :-\


Heh. Thankfully I don't need it.
But if I don't reduce the time I spend online, my wife may need it soon  :D