The tech press tends to make a big deal out of Google’s octopus-like control of so many facets of our online lives. Search, YouTube, Maps, Android, etc etc, all tied together, tracking us, learning from us… And then showing us ads so we spend more money on the things it approves of.
It doesn’t work very well.
Based on similar listeners google invites me to spend five bucks on an album from a foreign band I’ve never heard of. What similar listeners? There’s no indication of the actual connection, just that somehow somewhere someone is just like me. Oh, of course, doubtless they are.
Google Play (which is the best possible example of Google’s inability to do simple, effective searches) thinks my purchase history is a good place to start when it tries to offer me new software.
Oh hey, you bought the HD version of SomeGame, would you also like the inferior low res version?
What about this free, ad-tastic, limited version of the full game you already bought?
Surely you’re interested in buying an album from this hideous 80s band you clicked on accidentally while unsuccessfully looking for music you actually like on YouTube five minutes ago?
Maybe you should try this crazy knockoff app that tries to mimic a good app you bought and enjoy?
Can you really pass up this rubbish app you tried twice already, that doesn’t work on your device?
Hey buddy! Buy these stupid movies you wouldn’t watch if you got paid! Check out this music too dull for your grandparents to tolerate! Hey, look! Hey!
I have no idea how Google’s virtual reconstruction of my needs and wants was made, but I know it could hardly be more wrong. When the time comes that someone in power looks up my shit to see if I’m a danger or not, he’s going to be entirely misled. And this is why I fear the death of privacy. The machines are tracking us and they’re not good at it.
This is why Skynet was so dangerous in the movies. It wasn’t evil, just poorly programmed.