Google is turning up their Creepy Factor yet again, though anyone who didn’t see this one coming isn’t paying attention:
Google is sifting through the photos and commentary on its blossoming social network so its Internet search results can include more personal information.
Not that I trust Facebook with my information more than I do Google, but frankly I’m getting sick of both of them knowing more about me than they should.
Different people should start seeing different search results more frequently now that Google Inc. is importing content from its 6-month-old Plus service, a product that the company introduced in an attempt to counter the popularity of Facebook’s online hangout and Twitter’s short-messaging hub. Google’s main search results page also will start highlighting more content from an older online photo service called Picasa.
Facebook and Twitter pose a threat to Google because they don’t allow Google’s search engine to log the avalanche of photos, links and observations tumbling through those services. That’s troublesome to Google because its search engine could become less useful if its system can’t analyze what people are signaling is important to them so those preferences can be factoring into the results.
This is one reason why I haven’t tried Google+. Another is that I’m already on Facebook, so why would I want two places to waste time? But frankly, I don’t trust Google to be looking out for anyone other than Google. They don’t care about my privacy any more than Facebook does.
I also don’t think it’s a good idea for them to only show me what they think I want to read. I want them to show me pages that match my criteria, period. No filtering, no shading, no tailoring. They don’t know what I’m searching for something, and for them to assume that I’m searching for information based on my personality is dangerous. I don’t want to live in an echo chamber. I don’t want some developer in California deciding what I want to see.
I want to be able to make that decision for myself based on my own context at the time. For example, if I’m searching for something related to politics it’s true I probably won’t want to get information from certain sites. But not ten minutes later I could be searching on a topic where I have a need to see anything and everything I can get my hands on to do a general survey of the topic. I would want to see info from those sites now. Google may figure out I’m a conservative/independent, but how is it going to know when I’m searching as a business analyst instead of a political consumer?
Anyway, call me paranoid, but I’m not excited about the idea of any business knowing too much about me.