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> I don't see why, as website owner selling e.g. clothes, I shouldn't know that a person landed on my website by searching e.g. "yellow pants"

That doesn't really matter. But if you set up a content farm / honeypot, you shouldn't be able to tell that the search term that brought the person to you is "how to deal with my XXX infection"

That's the privacy argument, and it's a good one.

The business argument for Google: they still have the information, and can use it in their analytics, and potential competitors or customers don't have it.

>But if you set up a content farm / honeypot, you shouldn't be able to tell that the search term that brought the person to you is "how to deal with my XXX infection"

Why not? How else are you going to 1) provide information on dealing with an XXX infection, or 2) recognize enough people are landing at your site looking for advice on their XXX infection that you should provide some answers?

Ok, that's fair, but maybe only for a tiny percentage of the cases?

Setting up such a "content farm / honeypot" and making it reach the top results of Google/Bing/Yandex/etc... used to be simple but is nowadays probably successful in only very few cases (as search engines are nowadays more and more context-aware), and Google/Bing/Yandex/etc... can still see & use "how to deal with my XXX infection", but whoever doesn't use directly their services cannot.

What I mean is that, in my opinion, the privacy measures in this case centralized even more power in the hands of few companies with very little added/improved privacy.

In my case, running a small techy website, the search keywords were very useful because they allowed me to understand e.g. which keywords forwarded the users to my website by mistake or correctly, to then correct appropriately the contents of my articles to make it more clear what my articles were talking about, or to see that the users had a very specific problem that I did not take into consideration when I wrote a certain article, etc... . Now I cannot see those infos anymore without using Google Analytics which I don't want to use (or, by using the plugin mentioned above, which is good, but for which I would still have to pay $/year, which is bad as it increases fixed costs).

I understand where you are coming and I agree it gives Google (or Bing) more power, but ... it was the user's choice to give Google (or Bing) that information by using it as a search engine.

If they gave the information to you too, it likely goes to you, but also to the other 50 .js files you include from various sources of dubious trustworthiness which every site these days includes.

Furthermore, what you are saying is "this admittedly private information used to be available to all and it was useful for some, now it's only available to the entity the user specifically gave it to, and that's bad because the few who actually used it for good don't have it". But the whole idea of GDPR (and similar) laws is to put the control back with the user, which is a good thing.

I think some standard with which the user explicitly lets the website know "yes, the search engine query that brought me here is X and I allow you to have it" would be good, but I don't think dropping this info from the referer (sic) is bad.

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