After I read the following from Google's official blog, I seriously had to check what I was reading to make sure it wasn't a parody:
In the coming months, Google will start issuing our users cookies that will be set to auto-expire after 2 years, while auto-renewing the cookies of active users during this time period. In other words, users who do not return to Google will have their cookies auto-expire after 2 years. Regular Google users will have their cookies auto-renew, so that their preferences are not lost. And, as always, all users will still be able to control their cookies at any time via their browsers.
Umm...2 years? This isn't a joke. They are serious! Now this doesn't mean that Google is going to keep their cookies on your system for 2 years, it means that they're going to keep them for 2 years from the last time you accessed a Google site!
Did you see their reasoning? "so that their preferences are not lost" That's NUTS! Does anyone even remember their preferences after 2 years much less be angry if they're still not on the computer?
Believe me, I'm not a cookie Nazi. I don't keep track of what sites put what cookies on my computer and I'm sure I'm tracked all over the internet. But even for me, this is stupid. It's one thing to plan on keeping cookies on computers indefinitely as a matter of practice, but it's completely different to make it a matter of policy that you announce and defend!
Of course, they say that users will still be able to control their cookies at any time via their browsers. Yeah, and I'm sure spyware companies say that users are able manage their add-ins and apps with the Add/Remove menu, too.
Official Google Blog: Cookies: expiring sooner to improve privacy