In light of the new Google Privacy Policy debate, Path‘s (fairly common) mobile address-book upload storm (in a tea-cup?), Google tracking Safari users and Super-Cookies, comes this article from NY Times about “How companies learn your secrets“.

My personal view on my experience and the whole privacy issue is that Google needs to do what it needs to doAfter all, it’s a business and it’s avowed goal is to “…organize the world’s information and present it in useful ways…” – the “database of intentions”.

So without further ado, in what will warm the cockles of marketeers hearts everywhere (heck it may even put marketeer’s out of business if when Google gets really good over time but that’s a story for another day) and cause others to cringe and cry foul, here is my observation:

1) I sent an email to my friend Amit – reproduced below (with the most relevant text)

[snip]

… there are a bunch of contacts/email backup/restore/share solutions out there (http://www.migrationwiz.com/, http://shuttlecloud.com/, http://www.yippiemove.com/, http://www.liveoffice.com). The BIG and ONLY issue is would you trust a small company with your DATA. I expect that Google/Microsoft to support this already specially since there are people migrating to/from their platforms all the time.

[snip]

2) Within minutes of sending this email, GMail started showing me the banner below in GMail

GMail Banner - Import emails from Yahoo Mail

Psychic, Super serendipity or Google is violating your email

In light of what I observed and described above, Target‘s method to determine if a customer is pregnant, is just a lot of hard work and almost quaint. Andrew Pole and others of his ilk may as well look for a new job or a new career.

Let us extrapolate this further so that the implication is clear(er) in light of  the new Google Privacy Policy (effective March 1st 2012). Let’s say that you are in the market for a car and have been exchanging emails with friend(s) on a few car choices . Next say you go to a website and there is an ad for a few hundred dollars off a car which was on your list. Cool, right?

Let’s take another example. Say you received news (via email or IM or Google Voice?) that your great aunt Gertrude died. Next say you go to a website and there is an ad that gives you discounts on flowers, cards, funeral services and air-fare or rather bus fare to (surprise) Abilene, Texas (Aunt Gertrude’s place of residence) and … you get the point. Crass and creepy, right?

Psychic, super serendipity or Google is violating your mail – you hear, heed and decide. And welcome to the brave new world!

Vasu

About Vasu

Curious. Hungry. Foolish.

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