Can you recall your last Google search? What about who you e-mailed last night? What YouTube video did you watch last week? Well, even if you might not be able to remember, Google does.
Yesterday, Google announced it will be tracking user activity across all of its properties: YouTube, Gmail, its search engine and more. While Google has already been recording some of this information, it is now beginning to cross-reference data from different sites, such as YouTube cross-referenced with Gmail.
The company claims this is to create a better composite image of their users, primarily to more effectively tailor ads to them. But Google also claims this data will help the user, as a better understanding of each individual using Google and its various sites will lead to more reliable search results and the possibility for Google to interact more fully with the human being.
Experts say this could lead to a backlash amongst users, who might not have even been aware this information was being collected in the first place. Also, the more advanced techniques Google uses to analyze its data might invite attention from federal regulators concerned with the privacy of their citizens, as there is no feature to opt out of this new policy.
Did you know Google was amassing such records? Are you fine with such information being used in this way? How do you feel being explicitly marketed and sold to based on your search history? Is it any different from the numerous ads we see elsewhere every day? How can Google get away with making this mandatory?
Matt DeBord, senior reporter and business blogger for KPCC. He writes The DeBord Report for KPCC.org