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Googling Security: How Much Does Google Know About You? by Greg Conti

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Chapter 8. Googlebot

Webbots, sometimes called web crawlers or web spiders, are computer programs that gather information from the web. They interact with servers using common protocols such as HTTP and SMTP. In many ways, they gather the same information humans could gather, but only many times faster. Bots aren’t magic; they operate in the same manner as a web browser or e-mail client, but without the requirement for constant human intervention. By taking humans out of the loop, webbots can relentlessly troll the web downloading pages, reading e-mails, and collecting information on behalf of their master. Webbots raise an interesting point about the lifespan of information: Whatever information is posted on the web should be considered disclosed ...

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