[tongue-in-cheek]Oh my gosh! How could this happen! Google is tracking where I search, and what kinds of things end up in my gmail inbox, and puts a cookie in IE (and presumably any other browser) to track my interests so they can target their advertising to me? [/tongue-in-cheek]
This is news. I saw it in three different places this morning, so it must be important. Like any techie with half a brain cell didn’t know this was already going on. When I still saw ads as I surfed (I use adblocker most of the time in Firefox so don’t generally see many ads these days), I easily recognized that some advertising seemed to point directly to my interests. Of course I knew they were watching me. That’s why I don’t search for “how to build a nuclear bomb” on my own computer. (JUST KIDDING…that was a joke.)
If people think their surfing habits, search habits, and web-based email is not being watched, they have not been paying attention. This has been going on for a very long time. I, personally, don’t see the threat in it. This is how Google and others are making their money, and if they don’t make money, I don’t have access to their freebies like searching and email and groups/email lists.
Furthermore, there is no anonymity online. If I want to be anonymous, I need to stay off the computer, and in this day and age, that is not going to happen. You have to take the good with the bad. We are being tracked, we are being watched, and yes, maybe at some point, nefarious purposes will be applied to that data. But as this is nothing I really have any control over, I’m going to keep doing what I do, searching for what I need to search for, sending and getting email that holds a lot of information, and using group mail (Google Groups and Yahoo Groups) as I always have.
Anyway, if they are looking at my surfing, they are likely getting a laugh. Things I’ve surfed for lately: Italian social mores, social attitudes 1840 Italy, Women’s Suffrage, homeschool math, is Captivate 4.0 accessible with JAWS, Paul Cardall, Jason Mraz, THe Writer’s Digest Sourcebook for Building Believable Characters, marriage laws in the Catholic Church… I could go on and on. I wonder what Google thinks of me?