It almost feels like a scene from a British period drama: Jeeves, the butler, spies impetuous lads Larry and Sergey snooping around the guest quarters. A brief conversation with the tea-sipping master of the house ensues, and after an ear-pulling sojourn up the stairs, the swats begin.
How much they'll hurt is a matter of perspective. On Tuesday, Ask.com parent IAC/InterActiveCorp
Neither CEO Barry Diller nor his appointed lieutenants are saying whether the move is directed at Google
I'll say. Google keeps search data for 18 months. So does Microsoft
Well, sort of.
Since Ask.com relies on Google to serve it with targeted ads, searches originated at Ask may still be stored at DoubleGoo. For 18 months.
Enter the tattling butler.
The danger here for Google is that users and privacy advocates could demand that "erased" searches be completely purged -- as in, "from all servers touching the original request." If so, it could present both business problems (less relevant demographic data) and technical woes (tighter integration of servers over a dispersed network).
But Diller can let Larry and Sergey worry about that; he's busy playing the hero. The champion of the little guy. The one who, with just 3% of the search market, had to do something drastic to tip the scales in his favor.
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Find Tim's portfolio here and his latest blog commentary here. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy endeavors to give satisfaction.