Google — Clueless or Misleading?

On February 28, 2011

Disconnect was covered by the Wall Street Journal (blog) today (note to future Disconnect scribes: this underline thing is called a hyperlink). The post features the work of one of Google’s master bunko artists, whom I’d like to debunk for you:

Google spokesman Chris Gaither declined to comment on Disconnect, but said that users can also turn off search personalization by removing their Web history. (Instructions are here.)

The change Google suggests is strictly cosmetic — their search results will be displayed differently (i.e., not personalized), but your queries and cookies will still be logged by them and kept for 18 months.

Letters to the Editor

X-s said...

Please make disconnect extension available for firefox browser users! Thank you about the nice add-on you provide to us.

Chrome said...

how about creating a whitelist? :)

VinnyG said...

I second X-s. A Mozilla Disconnect extension would be greatly appreciated!

Brian Kennish said...

Done! (Details at

If you want to help test, email me and I’ll send you a prerelease copy.

Brian Kennish said...

See above. If you want to help test, email me and I’ll send you a copy now.

Brian Kennish said...

Perhaps. ;-)

trilliard said...

When I used Google as a search provider (As a true geek I now use duckduckgo), I would try (but forgot a lot) to remember to log out of my gmail account before doing a search so that my search activities weren't tracked.  (Not that I necessarily cared about what I was searching for, it just pissed me off that they were invading my privacy). 

Apparently, after reading the link you just posted above, they dump a cookie on your disk drive for users that aren't signed in. (Just an fyi).

There is something is simply *must* know: why are you using Gmail?

trilliard said...

I *meant*, there is something *I* simply must know.

Paul Kulas said...

Howdy Brian,

So glad to see young people like yourself taking privacy seriously. Unfortunately, so many engineers these days don't consider the ethical implications of what they're doing. They don't see the harm they're doing to society. All they see, is the money being thrown at their feet -- and the free sushi bar.

Here's our site:

We've been trying to get it going, but Facebook has "500 million sold". Very few see the problems that are on the way. If you know anyone that could help us, I'd sure appreciate it. We'll put a link to Disconnect on our links page.

Thanks again for doing this.
= Paul

Xavier said...

Thanks for this extension! Is great to suf the web and make search i need withouth a sensation of someone is tracking everytingh i read. Please can you make it for Opera Browser? Many will be gratful (even more than now)

Ipnostudio said...

I installed both Disconnect and Facebook Disconnect on Chrome but honestly I'm thinking about dropping it at all. Big G gives everything free but seems that it's done as an exchange to sell all your personal data to everyone; plus, it seems to me that it's just manipulating everything in order to push it's own business. So even search results now are biased. At the top you always find Big G friends with the higher pagerank. Better shifting to another search engine. At the end web surfers who go on using Big G are those who can throw it on the bin. And FB is just the same thing, everything free and everything is sold to everyone.

And as soon as I find a better ad network I'll drop also adsense, not only for its pathetic ads but for its privacy approach.Thanks for these great tools to protect our privacy, Big Brother and his friends are always looking for ways to control everyone.

david.b said...

Privacy PC guys have made a detailed
transcription of Mr. Kennish’s talk at DEFCON conference: How Our Browsing
History Is Leaking into the Cloud: