The good news is that this will allow Google to fine tune the signal to noise ratio of the stuff you see on the screen. The ads and the search results will be even more relevant to you and by making sure that you are seeing relevant content, your browsing experience is the best it can be.
You will find the right thing first time, almost every time.
The creeping hand of Google will now pervade more and more of your life, infecting your senses with only the things that Google’s advertisers pay them to show you. Advertisers are going to be able to single you out for targeting and then pummel you until you submit.
Both perspectives could be seen as reasonable, it just depends on which side of the privacy line you sit.
Oh, and Google is not alone. Facebook is about to float at a price that will almost certainly be obscene. That’s not because it’s cool or it’s hip or it allows you to connect people. It’s because there are more people on Facebook today than were actually alive 100 years ago (I don’t know that this stat is true, but it feels true). And the people on Facebook are connected globally when 100 years ago they could only dream of being.
My daughter posts in the USA about something she is doing (normally related to Justin Bieber) and in an instant there are comments from her friends all over the world.
And Facebook sees it all, and uses that to helpfully make sure that all those people ONLY see things that are related to their profile.
The real question is this. Do consumers care? Should they care?
In this modern age, where we are restricted for time, surely being served up the things we want in double quick time and without the clutter of Ads for things we don’t want is good? For now, maybe.
But what if Google started using that data for something else? What if they started using that data to assess risks or buyers’ behaviour and started scoring consumers on that basis, then passing those scores on? Would that still be OK?
Is there a line? Does it matter?
Ian Hughes is the CEO of Consumer Intelligence, a market research company that is dedicated to helping its customers make intelligent decisions using the best possible insight.