Sunday, February 05, 2006

In Soviet Russia, Google searches YOU!

I like this article:

I really don’t think the average internet browsing person has a concept of what concerns about privacy they should have, and what they are led to worry about senselessly.


I stumbled across yet another article about privacy called “You Search Google, Google Searches You”. Throughout the article, the author, Andy Dornan, feeds readers with an extra dose of suspicious obsession with statements like “pretend privacy” and “advertisers manipulate you into giving them money”.


Yet Dornan goes on to say “…Google’s privacy policy admits that it does log traffic…”. He fails to embody the entire policy regarding logs they collect.


Is there a difference? Is there a difference between your newspaper being dropped at your front door (the same front door as every member of your household) because you signed up to receive it, and someone monitoring everything you read, who reads it, when each person reads it, what was most interesting to each individual, and then attaching that to your name, phone number, social security number, and birth date for sale and publication?

The privacy dogmatists (or whiners) would have you believe that you are being tracked on a very granular level and that the companies tracking you have an obsessive interest in you as an individual. For some reason, companies like Google want to know more about you – they want to know you inside and out – they want to know things that only you know about yourself and they want to put a name and a face to that, and use it to your disadvantage. This is a very naïve and amateurish viewpoint, but it is something that human nature would lead us to easily believe. Just as it makes us want to believe that we can be abducted by aliens, that we never went to the moon, that JFK was shot by a dozen or so people, and that there is a poltergeist in our kitchen.


The fact is that Google doesn’t care about you. Nor do their advertisers. Their software doesn’t even care who you are. They care only about what is in your wallet, and their optimization engines only care that it is delivering advertising to the desktop that you are on with the possibility of it being slightly more affective because it is related to something that someone on that computer has viewed in the past. No one – not even Google – gives a damn who you are until it comes time to type your Billing Name and Address for a purchase, and even then their only interest in the information is to, oh my gosh, complete the transaction and make money. There is no Google Empire collecting information on citizens to have the world come to an evil end under their control. They just want to be the best advertiser in an industry where costs per millions of impressions has dropped into the pennies.

Dornan’s comment that “I’d rather get a thousand spams for breast enlargement and interest-only mortgages than one carefully tailored sales pitch that might work” is absolutely ridiculous. Why would you rather get breast enlargement advertising than something in which you might actually be interested?

Well said.


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