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Web Browser Cookies - Advantages and Disadvantages

Cookies are strings of data stored in a small file through web browsers on the computers. Cookies enhance the users’ web experiences by enabling web browsers to remember users’ preferences and browsing history, thus, avoiding the need to repeatedly enter data. Other ways in which cookies improve our browsing experiences include remembering passwords and suggesting potential websites of interest.

Leading internet companies such as Google use cookies to learn about the habits of their users which help these particular companies improve their products and services. Cookies also improve our shopping experiences because over time cookies help companies better understand our likes and dislikes and improve the quality of product recommendations. Cookies also help internet companies save storage space because the same information can be used for multiple sessions or related websites. Without cookies, it would be difficult for the companies to retrieve users’ information without requiring a logon on each visit.

Though cookies have their benefits but they have also generated privacy concerns due to an increase in consumer tracking and internet marketing. Third party ads can become a nuisance and ruin the browsing experience. Cookies are not virus but they may lead to similar security concerns among users who value their privacy and prefer web anonymity. Even though cookies can be removed but not all users possess the knowledge to remove them. Because cookies store data, they can also be used as a spyware.

Thus, cookies have both advantages and disadvantages but the companies can help ease privacy concerns by giving users easy ways to opt out and seeking permission when installing cookies. Companies can also provide info on what the cookies may and may not do and doing so will improve public understanding of the cookies’ functions as well as diminish their distrust of web marketers.