Stalk Google’s stalking of you

What with all the attention on Google right now because of the sweeping and selfish privacy policy changes they just publicized, it’s smart, fun and sometimes a little disturbing to see just what Google’s advertising arm thinks it knows about you.  Play along at home – browse to this page from whatever browser(s) you like to use, and compare with what I found.

http://www.google.com/ads/preferences

(1) Here’s what Google thinks based on the cookie in my iPhone’s Twitter cache:

Your categories
Below you can review the interests and inferred demographics that Google has associated with your cookie. You can remove or edit these at any time.
Arts & Entertainment – Comics & Animation – Comics
Arts & Entertainment – Humor – Live Comedy


Your demographics
We infer your age and gender based on the websites you’ve visited. You can remove or edit these at any time.
Age: 35-44
Gender: Male

(2) Here’s what Google says about me (the same user) according to my
iPhone’s browser cookie (i.e. in Safari):

Your categories
Below, you can review the interests and inferred demographics that Google has associated with your cookie. You can remove or edit these at any time.
Beauty & Fitness
Jobs & Education – Jobs
Reference – General Reference
World Localities – North America – USA – Pacific Northwest – Oregon – Portland (OR)


Your demographics
No demographic categories are associated with your ad preferences so far. You can add or edit demographics at any time.

(3) Here’s what Google thinks of me according to Chrome on my laptop:

Your categories and demographics
No interest or demographic categories are associated with your ads preferences so far. You can add or edit interests and demographics at any time.

(4) Here’s who they think I am according to IE on my laptop:

Your categories
Below you can review the interests and inferred
demographics that Google has associated with your cookie. You can remove
or edit
these at any time.
Computers & Electronics – Computer Security – Antivirus
& Malware
Computers & Electronics – Software – Freeware &
Shareware
Computers & Electronics – Software – Software
Utilities
Online Communities – File Sharing & Hosting
Reference – General Reference – Time &
Calendars


Your demographics
We infer your age and gender based on the websites
you’ve visited. You can remove
or edit
these at any time.
Age: 25-34
Gender: Male

Frankly, I’m glad that Google has multiple fragmented profiles on me (at least for this usage models of this ad service they sell). If I was to see the exact same data across all apps and devices) I’d be chilled to the bone.

But I’m not naive enough to think they’re not deliberately and inevitably taking us (along for the ride) there. The closer try get to a single, unified, aggregated view of my behaviour and interests, the more they’ll be able to charge their advertisers for every impression and click-through (or whatever new metrics they’re currently stewing up).

Share that revenue stream with me?  Then I’m all for the kind of surreptitious gathering that you’re doing.  Steal that from me and pretend that “more relevant advertising” is fair compensation (legal: “consideration”)?  You know where you can stuff it.

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One thought on “Stalk Google’s stalking of you

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