doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

What About Them Ads?

You would have to have been totally offline to not have read about the PRISM program and thought through the whole concept of your digital tracks as you click your way through your daily online routine.  In some circles, there was complete outrage that online services track your activities.  In my mind, I think that it’s just become part of our daily routine.  Like it or not, we’re tracked all over the place.

For example, today my wife and I visited Lighthouse Cove to treat ourselves to some perch.  Lunch was paid by debit card.  While I was there, I checked my Smartphone and Google Now gave me an estimate for the time it would take to get home and suggested the most efficient route.  (It overlooked the slower but more beautiful drive along Lake St. Clair)  I stopped in Essex to get gas and paid with credit card.  I always like to look around while filling to see where the surveillance cameras are.  (and smile for them)  This afternoon, I took the dog to the dog park and took a picture to mark the occasion.

In the image, there is all kinds of EXIF data to help me become a better photographer but also reveals to anyone who wants to take the time to determine what kind of camera I have if I share the image online.

On the way home, we crossed at least one intersection that I know that has a red light camera.  I’m sure that there’s an image of my vehicle now stored somewhere.

With online tracking, it helps pay the bills.  Imagine if you had to pay to access each website or resource that you visit.  It’s expensive enough buying internet access, a computer(s), a router, and all the other goodies that get us connected.

This infographic “How Does Google Make Its Money?” is one to make you stop and think about how these bills are paid.  The better job that it does to serve up those money generating advertisements, the better the program.  It’s the logic behind serving up the better advertisements that intrigues me.  Just how does Google know?  What does Google know about what I like?

Like most people with a Google account, I seldom log out.  It’s just more convenient to have a tab open for Gmail and another for Google Plus and to click over there when I need to check.  After all, logging in and out is so much work!

So, what does Google know about me?  Here’s part of the list…

Most of the list made immediate sense to me.  I guess I must have read a great deal about The Lone Ranger before we went to see it.  The “Brazilian Music” did stump me.  If it had been Bruce Springsteen Music, I definitely would have agreed.  You can check out your own advertising preferences here after logging into your Google Account.‎

Did you have any surprises? 

In light of the interests in privacy, this page is definite fodder for conversation in the classroom.  Follow the link to the Google Ads Help page for even more information.

If all this gets a little freaky, this article may give you some peace of mind “Online Privacy: How to Block Google Ads and Adjust Your Settings

Or, just don’t go online.


2 responses to “What About Them Ads?”

  1. Cool. The search results for ads were a bit off, but I often use search to settle arguments with my husband, usually about weird, esoteric things like what a word really means or how old some celebrity is. The visit data was more accurate. I maybe should be freaked out, but I’m not. I’ve been known to turn off search history and lock down other things, but I find it useful to have automated information.


  2. […] What About Them Ads? ( […]


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