Surprise! Google+ cookies behave themselves -- unlike Facebook's

Facebook's lingering cookies are cause for concern, but in an astounding juxtaposition, Google+'s cookies play fair

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I suppose you can take that with however many grains of salt you like.

Google+, like Facebook, maintains IDs. And like Facebook, it stores plenty of personal information. Google has both the "+1" button scattered on many websites as well as the entire AdSense network, which dishes up customized ads to people visiting any site with the AdSense links installed. Unlike Facebook, Google has a huge advertising network and a lot of monetary incentive for discovering who's reading about a new telephone or searching for auto insurance. Which led me to wonder: Is Google+ pulling the same sort of lingering cookie shenanigans?

I was frankly astounded to discover that, as best I can tell, they aren't.

Don't take my word for it. Try it yourself. Download and install Fiddler2. It's a free HTTP sniffer that shows you exactly what's coming into your PC and going out over HTTP. There's a quick-start video on the download site that'll get you going in no time. Try following the four steps I outlined above and see if you can pick up exactly where and how Facebook is storing your account information when you log on or off Facebook, and how that information gets shuffled back to Facebook any time you venture to a Web page with a "Like" button. (To test, this page has a Like button.)

Now try doing the same thing with Google+. Log on, log off, and look at what Google+ does with your cookies: They're all marked to expire immediately, which means they can't be accessed by Google. Now go to a page with a +1 button. Do you see your Google+ data going out over HTTP? If Google's playing fast and loose with my Google+ ID, I certainly can't see where the data's getting transmitted. Try going to a page with an AdSense ad (my home page, for example). I can see a couple of DoubleClick cookies getting generated -- Google owns DoubleClick -- but none of the information transmitted seems to come from the Google+ session or cookie.

I'm not certain that Google keeps my Google+ ID hidden under all circumstances, everywhere. But from what I've seen, Google is doing a very credible job of keeping my Google+ ID safe -- from Google!

Which is exactly as it should be.

This story, "Surprise! Google+ cookies behave themselves -- unlike Facebook's," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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