People like to use the web for many different reasons. Some people like to use the web for fun and other people use the web to be able to get work done. And of course there is a large amount of people who like to use it for both. But for the web to be able to accommodate these types of requests there is certain technology that is needed. When people look at the web, no matter if it is a simple web page or a complicated web app, all they see is the page in front of them. They have no idea how complicated it is to get a web page up. This is especially true when you are talking about a web page that has a lot of functionality. One of the functionalities that is needed is when you need to remember the preferences of a visitor after they leave the site. This is usually done by setting up cookies on the user’s browser.
What are cookies?
The technology behind cookies is fairly simply. They are little bits of a file that is placed in a hidden part of your computer. Before the cookie is placed on your computer it is filled with bits of particular information about you. This information can be anything. It all depends on the site that you are on. The information can be your username and password so that it can tell all of the other pages that you visit on the site that you are logged in to. It can be the number of times you have visited the site that day or month or even year. Any piece of information that either you or your computer tells the server during a visit to that web site can be stored in that cookie. And that information is then stored on their server for your next visit so that they can accommodate the site more to your taste.
That is why when you go to website like Amazon the books that you looked at last time are prominently displayed. And not only those books but books that are just like them. And there are a million of other sites that do the same exact thing. But you have to start to wonder to yourself about all of the information that you are giving out. Can all of this information be used against you in some manner? And the answer to that is yes.
Yes the information that you are giving out can be used against you. It all depends on a bunch of different factors. It depends on what type of site you are visiting and what information you give them. If you are going to a web site that you trust like Amazon then you do not mind as much giving them more than the average amount of information about yourself so that they can store it. But if you are going to a website that you really do not know then you have to be more careful when it comes to giving information to them.
And even if you do trust the website, you have to be aware of what they plan to do with your information. Websites tend to change their terms of service all of the time and you want to make sure that when they do change it your information is not being abused all of the sudden.
The cookie technology helps developers get a lot done. You just have to make sure that it is not being abused.