I like Google. For the most part I tend to side with them on most issues like free market concerns and so on. I usually don’t have any issue with the privacy stuff either mainly because it’s my choice whether I want to be “tracked” by Google or not. As you may have noticed I said usually.
What made me think a bit more today was something that most would find completely innocuous which is an update to Google Maps that saves your directions. I read the post at the Google Lat Long blog and was intrigued, wondering how that might apply to me (since I am not much of a traveler the answer is ‘not so much’). After reading through the explanation of the new feature I came to this sentence
These past directions and places will only appear for signed-in users who enable Web History.
Then it dawned on me. Of course, I would have to be logged into something Google related in order to keep tabs on this kind of activity and make sure it is saved specifically to my account etc, etc. but it felt weird. it felt like I had been offered a carrot and I blindly followed the carrot to the point of realizing that Google is just looking to get more information on me so my online experience with Google can be more personalized via ads and other things.
Then something else dawned on me. I don’t want everything to be so freakin’ personalized. Every once in a while I would just like to be me, looking to find some information that might help me out and not have to be considering that every move I make now adds to some profile of who I am based solely on my online activities. Honestly, that’s about half of who I am at best. Google may think they have me pegged but they don’t at that’s what is so aggravating with all of this.
Hey Google. Give me some credit for having a life that DOES NOT exist in the online world and stop trying to “figure me out”. I’ll let you know what I want you to know and when. Wait, that’s a fantasy and not a reality because no one really has control of their online privacy and if the claim is made by the Google’s of the world that they do, it would be shown to be such a convoluted process to get that control that no one normal human being would be able to do it.
It’s frustrating and a mini-rant like this is probably useless other than to make me feel better for a minute or two. I’ll be quiet now.