Google has tried to dismiss fears it is becoming the "Big Brother of the internet" by storing details of people's personal searches. The founders of the world's largest search engine said that those who were worried about their privacy should be more concerned about posting photographs and personal information on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.
The company was accused of breaching privacy after it emerged that it was planning to "read" customers' Google Mail emails to offer them targeted advertisements. However, Sergey Brin, 34, who with Larry Page, 35, founded the company 10 years ago, said social networking sites were the "number one privacy concern".
"There are things that end up there, especially if you are young and you are going out to parties and getting drunk and then decide to take a few pictures and put them on social networking sites," he said at Google's Zeitgeist conference in Chandler's Cross, Herts. "These things pop up and may haunt you for days, months or even years later. We go through a huge amount of effort to protect people's private data."