Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Google (and Yahoo) Using Email to Profile You!

A family member (who we’ll call Bob) sent an email to my wife on the subject of Health. It was one-link to a nutrition-site product (sunflower oil and other vitamins). My wife uses Gmail for all her email needs. Bob uses Yahoo for his needs.

The email contained a single link with no other information and not even a signature. The one-link email was flanked on its right side with sponsored links from Google. Ok, this is normal.

What was not normal, and was terrifying was that the ads where for Illuminati, deep secret governments, and a whole host of underground conspiracy ads. My wife was puzzled by the ads because they had nothing to do with nutrition. She knows how the ads should work because she has an Adsense account.

Our curiosity of the misinformed ads grew quickly.

For the heck of it we decided to call Bob and ask him if he was into these types of websites? He said, “That’s where I mostly visit. And how would we know this intimate information?”

We explained; Google reads email content with electronic robots and delivers ads based on ‘The Emails’ content. So if your email is about cats, ads should appear on the subject of cats. Google has always claimed it does not track content of users email. It simply provides content-based ads.

This came as a shock to Bob! He said he spends his life investigating threats to the U.S. constitution and expects that to remain ‘private’ to his household.

With that, we all felt a chill down our spine. How is it that emails from Bob now reveal where he surfs to his recipients?

This is no mistake on Google’s part. They are beginning to profile its users through toolbars, email content, collaboration with Yahoo databases and where we visit frequently. Then targeting our associates to see if they too are interested in the same subject matter? Or is that all its for?

I have never been into conspiracy before, but this smells rotten. We have clear evidence that Google and Yahoo somehow track our behavior “Personally!”

Look at the facts:

1) Bob only uses Yahoo for all his needs. This includes email, surfing and purchases.
2) My wife received the email from Bob in her Gmail account.
3) Yahoo and Google are two separate company’s right?
4) Bob has never revealed to my wife his personal Internet life.
5) Ads about where Bob visits frequently appear where content ads should have under Google sponsored section in Gmail email.
6) Bob confirmed that these are the primary sites he visits.
7) Gmail ads should only be focused on email content.

It is becoming ever clearer to me that we are heading towards George Orwell’s 1984. By the way, I can thank Google for those conspiracy ads, which lead me to this book. What a freekin’ irony!

Google is becoming the threat that so many predicted. I guess I am just starting to wake up.

~ BigD of
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