Google has announced it is changing its policy regarding the user logs it retains.

The search engine said that it is to make IP addresses in these logs anonymous after nine months instead of the previous 18 months in response to "regulatory concerns", according to a post on the Official Google Blog.

It explained that while it has made efforts to highlight the benefits of retaining user data – such as improving search quality, enhancing security, cutting spam and combating fraud – regulators and policymakers still question the company over the implications of its privacy policy.

"After months of work our engineers developed methods for preserving more of the data’s utility while also anonymising IP addresses sooner," Google’s Peter Fleischer, Jane Horvath and Alma Whitten explained.

Google has also updated its Suggest tool to anonymise typed search queries within 24 hours in the two per cent of searches made with the application that it uses for monitoring purposes.

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