Yahoo To Hold Onto Your Search Data For At Least 18 Months

Since 2008, Yahoo has made it a point of pride that the company only retains info about users’ search engine queries for three months, while competitors like Google held onto the data for over a year. But that’s about to change, as the internet biggie announced yesterday that, in a bid to remain competitive, it will retain search history info for at least 18 months.

Writes a Yahoo exec on the company’s Policy Blog:

[O]ver the past several years it’s clear that the Internet has changed, our business has changed, and the competitive landscape has changed. We have been reevaluating our log file data retention policy in light of these changes and as a result of this review we are moving to align our log file data retention policy closer to the competitive norm across the industry. That means that after this new policy goes into effect, we will no longer apply the 90-day retention policy to raw search logs or other log file data. We will hold raw search log files for 18 months and we will be closely examining what the right policy and time frame should be for other log file data. In announcing this change, we have gone back to the drawing board to ensure that our policies will support the innovative products we want to deliver for our consumers.

This announcement puts Yahoo users in a similar boat to those who use Google, which also holds onto info for 18 months before altering the data to apparently mask the searcher’s identity. Microsoft’s Bing search engine also mixes things up after 18 months, removing identifying info like IP addresses from search records.

Yahoo to keep personal search data for 18 months instead of three [L.A. Times]

Updating our Log File Data Retention Policy to Put Data to Work for Consumers [Yahoo Policy Blog]