I have no doubt that most people will be very shocked by the results that they receive doing this assignment. However, I’m not really surprised at all with the accuracy that Google has predicted my interests and the amount of data that Facebook archives. I will never be surprised when I see the amount of effort that businesses put in to try to make a profit. If I was in their position, my stance would be that if we have the means to do it, then why not? Every business is looking for that added edge which will make them better than their competitors. In Google’s case, they want to maximize the effectiveness of their advertisement spots. With Facebook, they want to store as much information as possible in the even t that it will be useful to them with future enhancements to their site. I am completely fine with both of these positions. Most importantly, you aren’t forced to go online and subject yourself to these companies trying to learn more about you. If you don’t like it, then don’t go on the internet. The internet is very useful to humanity and democracy, as we have learned, but the ability to utilize it is not an inalienable right that should be protected from these businesses.
My personal interests presented by Google were spot on, with the exception of my age. It listed me as 25-34 which is frankly close enough. I was not surprised to see all the different sports interest that it assumed I liked. It listed almost every sport there is and similar activities that involve them. The most interesting interest that it gave me was the state of Utah. This may seem somewhat odd to an outsider, but it makes sense to me, even though I have never lived there and have only been inside its borders once. I am a beat writer for the Utah Jazz for Rotowire.com and consequently read Utahan newspapers almost every day to keep up with the team and their day to day activities. This was the only entity listed that caught me off guard and made me realize how acute Google is at determining what goes on in your life.
I don’t think that knowing these results will change the way that I communicate online. I think that I am already pretty conservative with data that I present for people to see regarding Facebook and I actually like that Google tries to peg me as a person. I think that Google has actually helped me find content online and even provided me with advertisements that I have been happy to be exposed to. My only problem lies with the potential for all this information to get in the wrong hands. As I have stated, I don’t really care that my profile is being kept by businesses, but I would really be discouraged if it caused me personal harm because it fell in corrupt arms.