Bigmouthmedia Search survey reveals doubt over privacy intentions

From: Bigmouthmedia
Published: Mon Apr 30 2007

A bigmouthmedia commissioned survey has revealed deep uncertainty among UK web users over leading search engines’ privacy intentions.

The search history and behaviour of individual users is recorded, monitored and analysed by many search engines today. Google’s Web History service allows users to opt into recording and monitoring their own search and page viewing history. A survey undertaken by bigmouthmedia, asked over 1,000 people whether they trusted Google to keep this record of search behaviour private, less than 40% of users surveyed did.

One in three web users in the bigmouthmedia survey indicated that they did not know whether they trusted Google or not.

"Do you trust Google to keep your search behaviour private?
Yes: 38%
No: 30%
Don’t know: 32%"

"Industry observers know how seriously Google takes data privacy," said Andrew Girdwood, Head of Search at bigmouthmedia, "In many ways, it is a shame that this message is not getting across. As someone who has heard Google’s comments on user privacy I might not know everything Google plans to do with the data it has on my search behaviour but I am confident it will be well intentioned. This survey highlights that outside of the industry, many people are still nervous about privacy – and this needs addressed by the search providers."

Google out performed Yahoo and Microsoft’s Live Search in the survey, it was the only search engine which enjoyed more "Yes" answers than "No". 26% of web users trusted Yahoo to keep their search behaviour private and 23% trusted MSN with the data.

Industry experts have noted that the trust figures may have been higher than expected. Bill Slawski of US agency, SEO by the SEA, commented, "There isn't a privileged relationship between searchers and search engines, such as between a doctor and patient. Google's privacy policy states that they will only use personal information to improve the services that they offer, but it's really the force of public opinion that may keep them from revealing information that they might otherwise share with others."

Full survey details.

The Toluna powered survey collected 1,101 responses from 551 men and 550 women from a panel representative of UK web users.

Bigmouthmedia employs more than 100 people with offices across the UK, and USA, in addition to a further 7 offices and 100+ staff under the GlobalMedia brand across mainland Europe and Asia.

Notes to Editor:

About bigmouthmedia
Bigmouthmedia, part of the GlobalMedia Group is a leading digital marketing agency based in the UK, Mainland Europe, Asia and the USA. With over 300 clients across all sectors, ranging from SME’s to major global brands, bigmouthmedia offers a range of search marketing services leveraged to offer its clients maximum return for their online investment.

Founded in 1997, the company currently has offices in Edinburgh, Manchester, London and New York, and counts among its clients British Airways, MTV, Barclays, Tesco and Hilton. Parent company GlobalMedia has a further 7 offices around the world and clients including AOL and Bigmouthmedia was named the AXA Small to Medium Business of the Year at the 2006 National Business Awards, with comments from the judges including: "Successful on a global scale. Impressive, knowledgeable" and "A real market leading service performed exceptionally well."

Press Contact: Bigmouthmedia Ltd UK
Emily Thorpe
Marketing Manager
51 Timberbush
Tel: (+44)131 561 2179
Fax (+44)131 553 6800
Company: Bigmouthmedia
Contact Name: Emily Thorpe
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: (+44)131 561 2179

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