Bruce mentioned that all of us can go to a Google page and edit the segment information Google has about us. These are the interests that Google, like other media and ad companies, has picked up from the sites we visit and the articles we read. I mentioned to him that Google might consider promoting this page more vigorously. (No one in the audience seemed to know about it.)
So now, back in the office, I just visited the site. And if these are the conclusions Google has drawn about me, it’s very general stuff. Probably won’t upset too many privacy analysts. In fact, I was hoping for much more detail and insights about my online behavior.
Here are my interests, according to Google:
Automotive, Business - Business Schools & Training, Finance & Insurance - Credit & Lending, Investing, Engineering Technology, News & Current Events, Business News, Politics, Social Networks & Online Communities, Dating & Relationships, Social Science - Psychology.
That is the most boring list. I’m sure it would apply to a lot of people reading this. Somehow they missed that I love sports and music, which is surprising. (Note to my wife: I’m assuming that my interest in “dating and relationships” must come from random clicks on a Brangelina news, or perhaps the early research for my Lover chapter in The Numerati.)
In any case, no one could possibly look at that list of interests and connect me to it. So the question is this: Is Google keeping the profiles vague to assuage our Big Brother fears? Or is targeted advertising at such an early stage that it only makes sense to focus on large groups? I won’t venture a guess at this point.