A survey of 295 readers of technology related blogs by Hakia.com, a new meaning-based search engine, shows that 62% (166 votes) percent of those surveyed do not trust search engines to keep their information. 30% (106 votes) of these respondents don’t want the search engines to store their information while 19% wanted to have the ability to edit the information the search engines keep about them.
Hakia.com’s CEO, Dr. Riza C. Berkan further explains the results of the survey:
It is not the data or cookies…it is the intent in handling them. The problem is purely in communications. Search engines must openly declare what they are doing with the data and all tracking devices, almost like a confession. Alternatively, they can ask users’ permission when the data is being captured and the privacy line could be seemingly crossed. Once such clarity is exercised, then it is a fair environment.
The survey also noted the following issues that search engines must address to gain users’ trust:
- Don’t ever store user information. 30% (72 votes)
- Give users access to and editing permission over the data search engines keep. 19% (47 votes)
- Be transparent about filtering they use to display results, capture information and disclose biases. 14% (35 votes)
- Give users the opportunity to opt out at will. 10% (25 votes)
- Empower users to manage and improve the relevancy of their own search results. 12% (30 votes)
- Have regular open conversations with users on the use of user data. 5% (12 votes)
- Give users the tools to curate and prune search history. 5% (12 votes)
- None of the above 5% (11 votes)
This survey relates well to Google’s dillema on cookie retention limit policy. After all, users should have the right to decide whether they would let the search engine store their information or not and for how long those information should be kept by the search engines.