Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Google Dodging

With all of the news about the government requesting access to Google's search results, and general fears about Google's intimate knowledge of all of us, the question of what we can do has been on my mind. There are several possible ways to limit your exposure to Google. Here is what I do:

1. Clear cookies - This is generally a good idea anyway. I set all of my cookies to expire when I close my browser, and sometimes manully clear them.
2. Open gmail in its own browser. (Is there a firefox extension so that tabs don't share cookies? That would be cool...)
3. Use Scroogle, or some other proxy.
4. Use the right search engine for the right search. Google is a good all-purpose search, but if you want to search blogs, why not use technorati? Or if you want to read about something, why not use wikipedia? It is easy to add engines to your firefox search bar. (Scroogle has one.)

Another option that I think might be a fun project would be to create a 'google obfuscator'. The general idea is to create a small script that sends search requests to google periodically using either a dictionary file of some kind, or some other source of random queries. This would flood google's records associated with your IP address with garbage, hopefully hiding your real searches.


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