Ask.com today announced the launch of AskEraser(TM), the first product to give consumers privacy control over their online searches.
When enabled by the user, AskEraser completely deletes all future search queries and associated cookie information from Ask.com servers, including IP address, User ID, Session ID, and the complete text of their queries.
An AskEraser link is featured prominently in the upper right corner of the Ask.com homepage and search results pages -- clearly and constantly indicating to the user that their search activity will be 'erased' from Ask.com servers.
AskEraser remains 'on' for searches conducted across Ask.com's major search verticals: Web, Images, AskCity, News, Blogs, Video, and Maps & Directions -- and can be turned 'on' or 'off' by the user at anytime.
"For people who worry about their online privacy, AskEraser now gives them control of their search information," said Jim Lanzone, CEO of Ask.com. "AskEraser is simple, straightforward, and easy-to-use. It is an idea whose time has come."
Earlier this year, Ask.com also announced that it is implementing a new data retention policy to disassociate search history from IP address and User ID after 18 months.
In addition, Ask.com has taken steps to further industry collaboration and dialogue on privacy issues. In July, Ask.com and
Microsoft joined together in urging the online industry to develop global privacy principles for data collection, use and protection related to searching and online advertising.
Since then, Ask.com has worked with other technology leaders, consumer advocacy organizations and academics to make progress toward the development of these principles, as well as disseminating best practices to provide more privacy control for consumers.
"Anonymized search data provides online companies with important information to optimize the overall search experience," said Doug Leeds, senior vice president at Ask.com.
"At Ask.com, that aggregate information is already guided by strong privacy standards and policies. But for those who place greater importance on protecting their search data and their online privacy, AskEraser takes care of their concerns by putting consumers in charge."