Most Prefer Google, But Data Collection Unpopular: Pew Study

Led by Google, search engines are increasingly more popular and users are more satisfied with the quality of search results, but most don’t like the collection of personal data and see it as overly intrusive.
A new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 65 percent of users see as a “bad thing” the collection of information about their searches for ranking future search results. They said it would limit the information they get online.
A significant 73 percent see the tracking of searches, and using that information to personalize their future search results, as an invasion of privacy.
And 68 percent said they were uncomfortable with targeted advertising because they don’t like having their online behavior tracked and analyzed.
Both search engines and social media sites, led by Google and Facebook, have come under increased scrutiny by privacy advocates and lawmakers for the amount of personal data they collect from users.
Google has been targeted recently after it implemented changes in its privacy policies. Google in January announced modifications that allow data on the online behavior of users of any Google service – such as the search engine, YouTube, Gmail and Google Plus – to formulate a more complete user profile. Advertisers can then use this profile to more accurately target products.
Pew surveyed more than 2,200 adults, January 20-February 19, 2012.
Pew found that 83 percent of the respondents rated Google as their preferred search engine. That was up from 47 percent in 2004, the last time that Pew surveyed users’ opinions on Internet search engines.
Just 38 percent of Internet users say they are “generally aware of ways” they can limit how much information is collected by a website. An alternative method that businesses can use to get their websites performing better in search rankings, which does not involve using the personal information of internet users, are Niche Edit Links.
Of the aforementioned 38 percent, a common strategy people use to limit personal data collection is deleting their web history – 81% know that they can do this. Three quarters of this group uses the privacy settings of websites to control what’s captured about their online behavior.
And 65 percent change their browser settings to limit the information that is collected.

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