Website Cookies

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Video Info & Transcript

Video Transcript: 
It’s nice when your neighborhood coffee shop gets to know you. They remember how you like your coffee and where you like to sit.  This makes your experience better.
 
Something similar happens on the Web. When you visit your favorite websites, they often remember you and how you use the site. This happens thanks to a tiny bit of information called a cookie. You don’t see it, but cookies are a part of nearly everything you do on the Web.
 
When you visit a new website, a cookie from the site is often saved on your computer automatically. It has information like an ID that is unique to you and data on your visit.
Like a passport stamp, your Web browser collects cookies from the sites you visit over time. Then, when you return to a site, your web browser and the website may use a cookie to know if you you’re a new or returning visitor.
 
The most common types are session and persistent cookies. Session cookies can remember information from your visit.  But as soon as you close your browser, they go away. For example, if you add items to a shopping cart, the session cookie can help the site remember your items, even if you visit other sites – as long as you don’t close your browser.

Persistent cookies, on the other hand, don’t go away until they expire. They help remember things like your login information and personal details over time. When you close your browser and a website still remembers your settings on your next visit, it’s usually a persistent cookie at work.

Cookies are a harmless and a normal part of using the Web - they don’t carry viruses, run software or see anything on your computer. But the information in some cookies can be read by advertisers, for instance, to collect and use information about sites you’ve visited. This means  you may visit a specific site and then start to see advertising related to it all over the Web.
 
You can always use your browser preferences to delete cookies for a fresh start. And even stop collecting them for specific websites using your browser’s privacy settings.
And every browser type has it’s own cookies. That’s why sites may not remember you across computers and phones.
 
Generally cookies are safe and useful. In fact, they can be very useful to website owners who want to understand and improve the website’s experience based on data about visitors.
 
By providing website owners information and helping websites remember visitors, cookies make the Web feel a little more like home.
 
What it teaches: 

This video teaches the basics of website cookies. It covers:

  • How and why cookies are saved to your computer when you visit a website
  • The role cookies play in helping websites remember you
  • The two basic types: session and persistent cookies
  • How advertisers may use cookie data
  • How website owners use cookie data for analyzing traffic

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The Art of Explanation book by Lee LeFever

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