Today Peter Fleischer, Google’s (GOOG) Global Privacy Counsel, said Google will make its people-tracking Internet cookies expire after two years instead of lasting for decades. (Cookies are little files that Web sites routinely place on your computer to record your online activity – Google cookies typically had been set to expire in the year 2038.)
There’s one major catch to Google’s new policy, though: From all appearances, the cookies expire only if you stop using Google completely for two years.
From the blog post:
In the coming months, Google will start issuing our users cookies that will be set to auto-expire after 2 years, while auto-renewing the cookies of active users during this time period. In other words, users who do not return to Google will have their cookies auto-expire after 2 years. Regular Google users will have their cookies auto-renew, so that their preferences are not lost. And, as always, all users will still be able to control their cookies at any time via their browsers.