As the internet evolves, so does the average person’s understanding of the internet. People are also getting more aware of what information they transmit and are becoming increasingly careful about registering credit cards, their address, or their phone number on websites that seem “iffy”. But all of these things are visual. They can see the form, they can see the page layout, and they can see the URL in the address bar. But what about the things that are there but that they can’t see? The things that thousands of websites use to check what websites you usually visit so that they can customize the ads they show you or that they might use to check your shopping habits? Yes, I’m talking about something called “internet cookies”.
What are internet cookies?
Before I talk about how ReadSpeaker’s internet cookies work, I thought I’d explain a little about what internet cookies actually are. Internet cookies (sometimes also called “browser cookies”) are files that are stored on your computer and have multiple uses. As an example, they can be used by a website owner to trace what pages you visit on their website. This information is usually used to see what parts of their website are visited often and what people seem the most interested in. This way, they can optimize their website to show you, their users, the information that seems most relevant.
So what does this have to do with ReadSpeaker?
The example above is only one way that internet cookies can be used. The issue that a lot of people are worried about is, what exact information is stored inside the cookies? Most people never see them or what information they include. To some people, this can be a bit scary. As such, we feel it’s important to inform our users and our customers about the exact cookies used by our online text-to-speech products.
Now, there are two types of cookies. “Session” cookies, which disappear from your computer after you close your web browser. This is often used for sensitive information, such as login information on websites. Then there are “persistent” cookies, which stay on your computer until either they expire or until you remove them manually, whichever occurs first.
For our ReadSpeaker products, we use the second type, persistent cookies. The reason for this is that when you use our services, you usually have your own personal preference on how you want them to work. For example, you might find the constant word highlighting distracting in our Enterprise Highlighting product, so you change the setting to only display the sentence highlighting, meaning that it only highlights one sentence at a time. Or you might find that it reads a bit too fast, so you feel more comfortable changing the setting to “slow” so that you can hear everything that is being said. If we used session cookies for this, you would have to change those settings every time you open the browser. However, by using persistent cookies, we can save that information, so ReadSpeaker will always remember your settings for the next time you want to listen to something.
Say you go out of the country on vacation for a week and then come back and listen to the news. No problem, ReadSpeaker will still remember your own personal preferences. And this is all the information that we store. We never store any information that can be used to identify the person.
We are aware of that some of our customers have very strict policies about cookies on their websites. As such, we have a feature that allows the website owner to switch between “session” cookies and “persistent” cookies. This way they can decide how long the cookies should exist, making it easier to implement ReadSpeaker on a website where persistent cookies are not allowed.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.