Google’s new “privacy” policy and what it could mean to you…

Anyone using a Google service for the past few weeks will have seen pop up links telling you to review their new privacy policy with the note “This Stuff is Important!”.

I’ve been thinking of dumping Google as my primary search engine for awhile because their results have become crap.  This will likely seal the deal though.

Their new privacy policy states that they will be storing all your information,  which means internet searches (presumably what you clicked on as well),  what videos you looked at on YouTube and pretty much anything you’ve done on a google site while logged into a google account in one place.

There are several reasons for doing this.  Data mining is a big one and really one of the less evil ones.

To a data miner looking at Google’s data,  I am a 46 year old male living in South Western Ontario.   They might know my profession and might be able to take a stab at what my salary range is.  I know that bothers some people,  but not me.

The more nefarious purpose is advertising.   Directed advertising.

A few weeks ago I sent an email through the Gmail website to a friend asking for advice on investing.  I mentioned a specific product I was looking at.

Suddenly,  I’m inundated by banner ads for this product!   It might have been coincidence as my bank was starting a pretty aggressive advertising campaign for them, and I was googling investments a fair amount.

But, lets get back to the actual dangers of Google’s new policy.

Directed advertising….this has been an issue for awhile, but its now worse…

If you’re logged into Google,  they will collect your search history…so they can direct advertising.  Which is good right?  Yeah…maybe.

So lets say you’re alone Friday night,  you log into http://www.gmail.com,  check your email,  then flip over to google.com and do a search.

Your friend has asked for your advice for picking out flowers so he can send them to a girl he likes.    You don’t want to give him bad advice so you google

“What flower arrangements are best to tell a girl you want to have sex with her?”

You send a link to your friend who emails you back and asks if you know any good motels.

So you google motels.

You’ve done your good deed for the day and figure you deserve some time for yourself so you google

“Blonde Grannies in Nylons”

The next day you go off to work,  kissing your spouse good-bye on your way out the door, forgetting all about last night’s googling….and forgetting to log out of your gmail account.

You get home that night, and your spouse is missing.  You don’t worry too much and head to the computer to do some surfing.

You find it odd that suddenly all your directed advertising is for divorce lawyers.

You figure out why when you are served with divorce papers that cite your internet search history as indicating that you are enticing elderly blonde women to motel rooms by sending them flowers.

Being single I’m always amused by directed advertising.  Especially dating site ads on Facebook.

I get ads telling me that I’m highly desired by “Older Russian Women”,  “Slavic Women”,  “Married Women”,  “Single Women with Children”,  “Asian Women”,  and women who are looking specially for “46 Year Old Men!”

I really have no idea what criteria they use to determine any of these things.

The thing that I find most amusing about my directed advertising…is that 99% of the ads are for things that I’ve already purchased…..on line.

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