IAC’s Ask.com Bids To Win The Privacy Game; Will Allow Users To Purge Searches

Another effort from IAC (NSDQ: IACI) search company Ask.com to stand out from the crowd … the launch Tuesday of “AskEraser,” a new privacy control that will allow users to purge search requests not from their own computers but from the search company’s computers within hours. Usually the major search engines store requests for a year or more — Google, (NSDQ: GOOG) MSN, Ask for 18 months; Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and AOL (NYSE: TWX) for 13 months. The new feature will be available first in the U.S. and UK, with global expansion slated for 2008.

One twist: as the AP reports, Ask relies on Google for some of its text-based ad links search , which means some searches will stay on Google’s computers even if the user opts out at Ask. Still, Doug Leeds, SVP-product management, told AP: “We definitely want to stand out from the other guys. This level of control is unprecedented and unmatched.”

One possible drawback: Using AskEraser erases the chance to use many of the personalization features — no skins, no “MyStuff” while the eraser is set to on.

Reuters: “A link titled AskEraser will be featured on the site’s home page and all search results pages, with a clear choice to signal whether the feature should be “On” or “Off” during a user’s search requests. … When activated, AskEraser deletes all subsequent search queries and related information linked to a user’s “cookies,” or identifying information from their computers.”