Free Leaf

"Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold..."

Name:
Location: Falls Church, Virginia, United States

I have a lot more questions than answers, but I just keep asking. I constantly want to leave, but somehow manage to stay. I am both perfectly happy and completely miserable because of it. I think I am misunderstood but that could just be a huge misunderstanding, either way I guess the best way to put it is, "I ain't often right, but I've never been wrong."

5.12.2006

Gmail is creeping me out

Alright, so it’s no secret that I work for a computer company and I am therefore privy to a lot of the newer things going on in the industry. Plus my company provides us with free downloads of a lot of the new software that comes out. For the most part this is great, I use Firefox and NotesBuddy and I am basically a well-rounded nerd. So I am not afraid to download the next best thing to make my computer life easier, especially since I am on one all day. But, I have gotten a little freaked out by Google, besides Google Earth and maps and now Google Trends I noticed something on my Gmail the other day that I think borders on invasion of my privacy. Yesterday I was exchanging emails with my friend Scott, congratulating him on his recent Law School graduation and discussing other such things like the girls on his little brothers MySpace pace (I am totally anti-MySpace, but that is another rant). Anyway, 4 or 5 emails into our exchange and we start talking about the imminent return of Futurama, the best animated show no one is watching, to Fox when I notice ads to the right of my email for Bender and Futurama merchandise. After noticing that, I start looking at my other emails and sure enough they all have the same results, whatever is being mentioned in the body of my emails is being pimped to me right there in my inbox. So, I dig a little deeper and read exactly Google is doing to me, and they make it seem innocent enough, but is it really? Here is what they say about it:

What's with the ads and related information in Gmail?

About Ads & Related Information

Want to know more about the ads and related pages delivered by Gmail? Glad you asked!

Ads in Gmail are placed in the same way that ads are placed alongside Google search results and, through the Google AdSense program, on content pages across the web. The goal is to provide users with helpful ads, links and content relevant to their specific interests.

Gmail is a technology-based program. Advertising and related information are shown using a completely automated process. Ads are selected for relevance and served by Google computers using the same contextual advertising technology that powers our AdSense program. This technology enables Google to target dynamically changing content such as email or daily news stories.

No humans will read the content of your email in order to target such advertisements or related information. Because the ads and related pages are matched to information that is of interest to you, we hope you'll find them relevant and useful.

Your Privacy

Google does not and will never rent, sell or share information that personally identifies you for marketing purposes without your express permission. No email content or other personally identifiable information will be provided to advertisers.

Privacy is an issue we take very seriously. Only ads classified as Family-Safe are distributed through our content network and to your Gmail inbox. For example, Google would block certain ads from running next to an email about catastrophic news.

If you'd like to know more about how Google handles your Gmail information, please read our Gmail Privacy Policy.

Should all that make me feel better or worse? OK, so I don’t feel great about it but I like Gmail a lot more than AOL, so I guess I can deal with the invasion of privacy to an extent. I will just use this as another reminder to keep my controversial thoughts and ideas off the internet. You never know, I could have a future in politics and I don’t want to have anything someone can easily dig up.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Meg said...

You just noticed that?

11:46 AM  
Blogger Leaf said...

Meg, Im a little slow sometimes. Doesnt make me feel any better though.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Minor Fast Days said...

The Orwellian nightmare is here. Just wait till eye scanning becomes the next advertising technique...like the movie Minority Report you will be walking down any street and eye scanners will read your retinas, identify who you are, put your identity into a database and find out what makes you tick, then they will sned a dulcite tone voice into your ear and sell you everything under the sun..."Leaf, how would you like the full box-set of Futurama."

9:45 PM  
Blogger Leaf said...

That isnt so far off. If you have heard what grocery stores are going to start doing with RFID (Radio Frequency ID) tags, basically all the grocerys will contain an RFID tag and everything you put in your cart will register to your account, you can then fill up your entire cart, log in at the cart with a credit card and walk out of the store and be automatically charged as the goods leave the store. The future is definitely here.

8:07 AM  

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