For years Google has used its search engine and custom applications to match products and services to keyword content. Up until now this has consisted largely of simple keyword advertisements. Type “shoes” in Google, for example, and you will get advertisements from shoe company partners. Last week Google proposed to change all this with their plan to make ads “more interesting.”

The idea behind the content shift is that keyword advertising is not always relevant to the interest of the user. A person who conducts research on houses in Africa probably still doesn’t want to own one. The same applies to all keyword searches. The new behavior ad program intends to change this by compiling interest instead of keyword searches. Through the use of monitor based algorithms Google will be able to tell how many times you go to a website, what parts you visit most often and custom tailor ads based on this information.

Now most people who read that are likely to do so with a look of horror. The idea that all of your web interactions will be monitored in an effort to sell you more goods is one that scares a lot of people. The fact is though that whether or not it was used almost all of this information has been tracked for a long time. Everything from time spent on a webpage to your browser version number (all you readers with IE6; please update) is easily recorded. The only difference between those stats, and the ones now utilized by Google, is that the before mentioned are privately held by which ever website they are taken from. With the new system Google will instead blanket this sort of information to all of their advertising partners.

From my perspective I suspect that this change over will result in a lot of hot air which will quickly dissipate. No one likes their personal information revealed but in the long run a few more ads are unlikely to change your life. But because privacy is a hot topic subject I am interested to learn what others think. If you have an opinion on this subject, post it, and let’s get a global perspective on the issue.

– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Design and Optimization Department