MOUNTAIN VIEW, California: Google has bowed to pressure from European Union data protection officials to cut the amount of time it keeps information on its users.

The online search leader will now keep data -including the search term, the address of the ISP and sometimes more personal information contained within cookies - for a maximum of 18 months.

Google had previously retained this type of data indefinitely but in March announced a two year limit after increasing pressure from privacy advocates and lobbyists. The EU, however, felt the time frame was still too long and pushed for further reduction, to which Google has agreed.

Peter Fleischer, who leads the search titan's global privacy counsel, said any legal requirement to keep data for less than 18 months would undermine the firm's services.

He added in a statement on the company's website, that while shorter retention periods were good for privacy, longer retention periods were needed for security, innovation and compliance reasons: "We believe we've struck a reasonable balance between these various factors."

Data sourced from (UK); additional content from WARC staff