A while ago I had posted that as much as I really like using my Gmail.com account, it makes me a bit nervous that my mail is being read, even if only by some sort of program on some computer somewhere, and the content is then used to drive money making (but not for me) advertisements to my email reader.
Last week I opened an email from a friend, and he was telling me of how many problems he’s having with his Corvette, and somehow the side space featured an ad for Chevrolet.
I have to guess that at least for today, the algorithm doesn’t take into account whether or not your word usage is positive or negative, it just scans for names or other searchable by database items that it can link to advertiser dollars. But even knowing how fast computers work, the fact that the pages open with the ads in place so quickly is a bit scary, are these words selected while the email is still being held in the pipeline before you can even check for your email?
All the above has been percolating in my brain for a while, and what has surfaced is this:
Perhaps when I do a Google (what do you think the “G” in gmail stands for?) news or image search, my subject’s search words run through a similar protocol filter and are sifted for content and then added to my Google master file (laugh if you care to, I believe that it exists), since all of the google / gmail information is linked by the cookies that are placed on my computer?
And that information goes where?
What if you’re a teacher, and you click on a news article in “Google News” about a teacher that was arrested for having kiddy porn on his (or, be fair now, her) computer? And your G-mail account has a few older undeleted messages to you from the PTA and the local school board, ones that might identify you as perhaps being in the world of education?
Related quote to think about:
“… if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”