Sunday, 5 February 2012

Go ahead Google - Make my profile!

Unlike many others I don’t care about Google’s plans to follow my use of You Tube, Gmail and Google to build a profile of me based, as they say, “ on interests expressed.”
Do I feel threatened by their methods?
Do I feel intimidated by the fact that yet another distant powerful corporation is scrutinising my web browsing habits?
Not in the least little bit. In fact, I say “Go ahead Google - Make my day!”

Because one of the main things I use Google for is to help me solve crossword clues.
Take a look at those advertisements that you can see over on the right of your screen. They are Google’s attempt to match products to the needs of my colyoomistas.
Or so they reckon.
Trouble is, those Google bots which crawl over this colyoom’s text pick up such a varied amount of subject matter that they come up with ridiculous combinations of commercials. Right now as I look there are adverts for house sitting in Ireland, a place to buy turbans and lesser-known cancer therapies.
Perfect if you’re a Sikh living in Longford who’s going on holiday to visit someone in hospital.
Is that you?
If so, well done Google!
In the same way, as a crossword solver, my use of Google paints a profile of anyone Google wants me to be. Anyone, that is, except the real me.
In the last few days I’ve looked up the collective noun for a group of Bishops; a selection of downy and furry fruits; the history of sherry; Iowa; the Holy City of Mecca and Neil Armstrong.
I’m not a big user of You Tube, but browsing facebook postings I occasionally watch funny shorts - the most memorable recent one being a naked farmer who willingly threw himself into his own baling machine, emerging with head and all four limbs sticking out of a bale of straw. You had to see it to enjoy it, but Google will have added it to my You Tube ‘expressed interests’, alongside the ubiquitous talking dog and 4 songs I posted myself, from the unique and little-known 80’s band Non-Stop Jeep.
I don’t use Gmail, but hell, surely Google have enough on me by now. I’m attending a Bishop’s conference in Iowa, chatting to astronaut Neil Armstrong about the great pilgrimages of Islam, whilst drinking sherry and eating apricots, watching men made of straw singing songs about Thunderbirds and French volcanoes.
Perfect. Build that profile! What an interesting guy I sound!
You’ll never know the real me, the one others care about. Yes this colyoom does sometimes delve into deep and delicate matters, but there are always more personal issues that remain private. No amalgam of browsing interests will ever reveal a true picture of my personality, my soul, or most important to you, my true purchasing preferences.
As long as I continue to solve crosswords with the help of your lovely search engine, you won’t have a clue - unless you put up an ad for crossword books!
Is there already one there?


David Rainger said...

I do get a 'crossword word finder' ad, and a couple of guitar ones too...
Do you see them too?
Is one yours and one mine??
Are you buying a guitar???

Charlie Adley said...

Maybe I should! And now that you've left a comment saying 'guitar' maybe there'll be more guitar ads here!