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The No. 4 search company issues a letter about adding a privacy link to its home page. It encourages Google to do the same.

Ever the publicity hound nipping at Google's heels, has issued an open letter to the public about adding a privacy policy link to its home page.

The letter highlights the fact that, weeks ago, several privacy groups asked Google to play up the privacy policy on its start page. The search giant didn't immediately add the link.

So Ask, the No. 4 search company, said Wednesday that it will take the step first.

"As of today, has added a direct link to our privacy policy via a 'Privacy' link prominently placed right on our homepage...We've also made sure that the 'Privacy' link appears on the landing pages across most of Ask's verticals as well, which cover almost all of Ask's search traffic," according to its letter.

The company put a fine point on the act, too: "We strongly encourage others in the search marketplace and online industry to do the same."