Google is about to stop using its Google Search Console to collect personal information from search results.
According to a recent patent application filed by the search giant, Google will stop using the Google Search API to automatically collect and store “the following types of information, including but not limited to, search engine results, browsing history, website navigation history, email addresses, phone numbers, account names, IP addresses, physical locations, and other information about a user’s computer, including their name, address, email address, or phone number, as well as any other identifying information.”
The patent filing describes the new Google Search Engine API as a “unique method of identifying an electronic device, such as a smart phone, computer, tablet, or other electronic device.”
The patent describes how Google could “compute a unique fingerprint that could be transmitted to a remote computer.”
It also describes how the API could allow Google to identify and track “any user who has visited a certain webpage, logged in, accessed a certain app, viewed a certain site, or otherwise accessed a specific content on a particular device.”
Google will also stop storing data on the devices of its users and will “use only information it obtains through the API to improve its services.”
The Google Search console will also no longer collect data about devices in the Google search results, including “the device’s OS version, version of the browser, operating system, and version of other programs on the device.”
The announcement comes in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling last week that overturned the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure.
The decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy also overturned the “strict scrutiny” standard used by previous cases, which allowed for government to use reasonable suspicion to justify a search warrant.
The ruling said that the Fourth Amendment requires that a search be based on “good cause” or a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”
The ruling came after two federal appeals courts ruled in favor of the government’s use of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to justify search warrants.
The Google Search api was originally developed for Microsoft Outlook in 2009.
Google bought the service in 2011 for a reported $1.3 billion.