Google knows everything. Or seems to, anyway. I just opened my Search History for the first time in eons, and wow. Just wow. There is so much information in there about what I search for and when. It knows when I search for things down to the hour (see the screenshot). With data like this from millions and millions of users, Google has an enormous aggregate set of data with a lot of power inside. They can analyze this data, see who is searching for what, when they search for it, and where they’re from. They’re becoming a huge marketing firm where people come to their door begging for a sliver of insight. They can charge what they want.
Why is this? Information is power. And Google can communicate this information. Through the brilliance of their AdSense program, they can reach millions of people. If people put ads on their site, they make a little money. If they put ads on Google’s site, Google makes a little money. Either way, Google is gathering more valuable data.
What does this mean for us? I picture it as “the socialization of information.” We may lose some privacy with our information constantly being harvested, but there are also benefits. With all that data about us, they can deliver more relevant results. Google can say “Based on what we believe your interests are, we think you might find this interesting.”
This is frightening, but isn’t it helpful too?