Cookies are small pieces of text sent to your browser by a website that you visit. They help that website remember information about your visit, which can both make it easier to visit the site again and make the site more useful to you. Other technologies, including unique identifiers used to identify a browser, app or device, pixels and local storage, can also be used for these purposes. Cookies and other technologies as described throughout this page can be used for the purposes described below.
Types of cookies and other technologies used by Google
Some or all of the cookies or other technologies described below may be stored in your browser, app or device. To manage how cookies are used, including rejecting the use of certain cookies, you can visit g.co/privacytools. You can also manage cookies in your browser (though browsers for mobile devices may not offer this visibility). Other technologies used to identify apps and devices may be managed in your device settings or in an app’s settings.
Cookies and other technologies used for functionality allow you to access features that are fundamental to a service. Things considered fundamental to a service include preferences, such as your choice of language, information relating to your session, such as the content of a shopping basket, and product optimisations that help maintain and improve that service.
Some cookies and other technologies are used to maintain your preferences. For example, most people who use Google services have a cookie called ‘NID’ or ‘ENID’ in their browsers, depending on their cookies choices. These cookies are used to remember your preferences and other information, such as your preferred language, how many results you prefer to have shown on a search results page (for example, 10 or 20) and whether you want to have Google’s SafeSearch filter turned on. Each ‘NID’ cookie expires 6 months from a user’s last use, while the ‘ENID’ cookie lasts for 13 months. Cookies called ‘VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE’ and ‘YEC’ serve a similar purpose for YouTube and are also used to detect and resolve problems with the service. These cookies last for 6 months and for 13 months, respectively.
Other cookies and technologies are used to maintain and enhance your experience during a specific session. For example, YouTube uses the ‘PREF’ cookie to store information such as your preferred page configuration and playback preferences like explicit auto-play choices, shuffle content and player size. For YouTube Music, these preferences include volume, repeat mode and auto-play. This cookie expires eight months from a user’s last use. The cookie ‘pm_sess’ also helps maintain your browser session and lasts for 30 minutes.
Cookies and other technologies may also be used to improve the performance of Google services. For example, the ‘CGIC’ cookie improves the delivery of search results by autocompleting search queries based on a user’s initial input. This cookie lasts for six months.
Google uses the ‘CONSENT’ cookie, which lasts for two years, to store a user’s state regarding their cookies choices. Another cookie, ‘SOCS’, lasts for 13 months and is also used to store a user’s state regarding their cookies choices.
Cookies and other technologies used for security help to authenticate users, prevent fraud and protect you as you interact with a service.
The cookies and other technologies used to authenticate users help ensure that only the actual owner of an account can access that account. For example, cookies called ‘SID’ and ‘HSID’ contain digitally signed and encrypted records of a user’s Google Account ID and most recent sign-in time. The combination of these cookies allows Google to block many types of attack, such as attempts to steal the content of forms submitted in Google services.
Some cookies and other technologies are used to prevent spam, fraud and abuse. For example, the ‘pm_sess’, ‘YSC’ and ‘AEC’ cookies ensure that requests within a browsing session are made by the user, and not by other sites. These cookies prevent malicious sites from acting on behalf of a user without that user’s knowledge. The ‘pm_sess’ cookie lasts for 30 minutes, while the ‘AEC’ cookie lasts for 6 months. The ‘YSC’ cookie lasts for the duration of a user’s browsing session.
Cookies and other technologies used for analytics help collect data that allows services to understand how you interact with a particular service. These insights allow services to both improve content and build better features that enhance your experience.
Some cookies and other technologies help sites and apps understand how their visitors engage with their services. For example, Google Analytics uses a set of cookies to collect information and report site usage statistics without personally identifying individual visitors to Google. ‘_ga’, the main cookie used by Google Analytics, enables a service to distinguish one visitor from another and lasts for two years. Any site that implements Google Analytics, including Google services, uses the ‘_ga’ cookie. Each ‘_ga’ cookie is unique to the specific property, so it cannot be used to track a given user or browser across unrelated websites.
Google services also use ‘NID’ and ‘ENID’ cookies on Google Search, and ‘VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE’ and ‘YEC’ cookies on YouTube, for analytics.
The ‘NID’ cookie is used to show Google ads in Google services for signed-out users, while the ‘ANID’ and ‘IDE’ cookies are used to show Google ads on non-Google sites. If you have personalised ads enabled, the ‘ANID’ cookie is used to remember this setting and lasts for 13 months in the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK), and 24 months everywhere else. If you have turned off personalised ads, the ‘ANID’ cookie is used to store that setting until 2030. The ‘NID’ cookie expires six months after a user’s last use. The ‘IDE’ cookie lasts for 13 months in the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK), and 24 months everywhere else.
Depending on your ad settings, other Google services, such as YouTube, may also use these and other cookies and technologies, such as the ‘VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE’ cookie, for advertising.
Some cookies and other technologies used for advertising are for users who sign in to use Google services. For example, the ‘DSID’ cookie is used to identify a signed-in user on non-Google sites and to remember whether the user has agreed to ad personalisation. It lasts for two weeks.
Through Google’s advertising platform, businesses can advertise in Google services, as well as on non-Google sites. Some cookies support Google showing ads on third-party sites and are set in the domain of the website that you visit. For example, the ‘_gads’ cookie enables sites to show Google ads. Cookies that start with ‘_gac_’ come from Google Analytics and are used by advertisers to measure user activity and the performance of their ad campaigns. The ‘_gads’ cookies last for 13 months and the ‘_gac_’ cookies last for 90 days.
Some cookies and other technologies are used to measure ad and campaign performance and conversion rates for Google ads on a site that you visit. For example, cookies that start with ‘_gcl_’ are primarily used to help advertisers determine how many times users who click on their ads end up taking an action on their site, such as making a purchase. Cookies used for measuring conversion rates are not used to personalise ads. ‘_gcl_’ cookies last for 90 days.
See more information about cookies used for advertising here.
Cookies and other technologies used for personalisation enhance your experience by providing personalised content and features, depending on your settings at g.co/privacytools or your app and device settings.
Personalised content and features include things such as more relevant results and recommendations, a customised YouTube homepage and ads that are tailored to your interests. For example, the ‘VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE’ cookie may enable personalised recommendations on YouTube based on past views and searches. And the ‘NID’ cookie enables personalised autocomplete features in Search as you type search terms. These cookies expire six months after a user’s last use. Another personalisation cookie, ‘UULE’, sends precise location information from your browser to Google’s servers so that Google can show you results that are relevant to your location. The use of this cookie depends on your browser settings and whether you have chosen to have location turned on for your browser. The ‘UULE’ cookie lasts up to six hours.
Non-personalised content and features are distinct from personalised content and features insofar as they are influenced by things like the content that you’re currently viewing, your current Google search and your general location.
Managing cookies in your browser
Most browsers allow you to manage how cookies are set and used as you’re browsing, and to clear cookies and browsing data. Also, your browser may have settings letting you manage cookies on a site-by-site basis. For example, Google Chrome’s settings at chrome://settings/cookies allow you to delete existing cookies, allow or block all cookies, and set cookie preferences for websites. Google Chrome also offers Incognito mode, which deletes your browsing history and clears cookies on your device after you close your incognito windows.
Managing other technologies in your apps and devices
Most mobile devices and applications allow you to manage how other technologies, such as unique identifiers used to identify a browser, app or device, are set and used. For example, the advertising ID on Android devices or Apple’s Advertising Identifier can be managed in your device’s settings, while app-specific identifiers may typically be managed in the app’s settings.