Microsoft said today it will delete identifiers on Bing searches every 6 months instead of 18 months. The company said on its legal blog it is making the change to better protect user privacy.
The change was prompted by an advisory group to the European Union on data protection called the Article 29 Working Party.
At the six month mark, Microsoft will begin deleting IP addresses attached to each search query, a step which used to take place at the 18-month mark. At 18 months, Microsoft will delete cookies and other cross-session identifiers associated with each search. The company will make the changes in the next 12 to 18 months.
Search engines like to retain data to improve the accuracy of future searches using previous searches.
“Studying trends in search queries enables us to improve the quality of our results, protect against fraud and maintain a secure and viable business. But consumer privacy can and must be preserved,” Chief Privacy Strategist Peter Cullen wrote in the blog post.
Microsoft is hoping to gain share on its search engine Bing, which has 10 percent of the market, to compete against Google, which has 65 percent of the search market.