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Google and Privacy

Google is sensitive to the privacy concerns of its users. The Internet allows individuals to explore and communicate with unprecedented ease, but it also allows websites to collect and distribute personal information with equal ease. We at Google know that many users are, understandably, concerned about such practices, and we wish to make clear our policy for collecting and using personal information.

Google’s Policy

Google’s policy on our wholly controlled and operated Internet sites is to respect and protect the privacy of our users. Google does not willfully disclose individually identifiable information about its customers to any third party without first receiving that customer’s permission. This policy statement tells you how we collect information from you and how we use it.

Google may share information about users with advertisers, business partners, sponsors, and other third parties. However, we only talk about our users in aggregate, not as individuals. For example, we may disclose how frequently the average Google user visits Google, or which other query words are most often used with the query word “Microsoft.”

From time to time, there may be situations where Google asks you for personal information. When we intend to use your personal information, we tell you up front. This way you can decide whether you want to give us the information or not. In case you change your mind or some personal information changes, we will endeavor to provide a way to correct, update or remove the personal data you give us.

Google and Cookies

Upon your first visit to Google, Google sends a “cookie” to your computer. A cookie is a file that identifies you as a unique user. It can also store personal preferences and user data. A cookie can tell us, “This is the same individual who visited Google two days ago” but it cannot tell us, “This person is Joe Smith” or even, “This person lives in the United States.”

Google uses cookies to track user trends and patterns, in order to better understand our user base and to improve the quality of our service. Google may also choose to use cookies to store user preferences.

Most browsers are initially set up to accept cookies. You can reset your browser to refuse all cookies or indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, note that some parts of Google may not function properly if you refuse cookies.

Links to Other Sites

The page that comes up after “clicking” on a result URL is likely to be outside the Google site and beyond our control. Other links, such as for the Google-friends mailing list archive, are also on sites not controlled by Google. These other sites may send their own cookies to users, collect data, or solicit personal information.

Google may choose to exhibit its search results in the form of a “URL redirecter.” When a URL redirecter is used, whenever you “click” on a URL from a search result, information about the “click” is sent to Google, which then sends you to the site you clicked on.

Google uses this URL information to understand and improve the quality of Google’s search technology. For instance, Google uses this information to determine how often users are satisfied with the first result of a query and how often they proceed to later results.

Google’s policy does not extend to anything that is inherent in the operation of the Internet, and therefore beyond Google’s control, and is not to be applied in any manner contrary to applicable law or governmental regulation.

We reserve the right at our discretion to make changes to this policy at any time. Please check this page periodically for changes.

Last updated: 9 June 1999