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Google: Don't Be CreepyGoogle: Don't Be Creepy

NOON Eric Schmidt knows where you are and what you need

August 17, 2010

2 Min Read
Google: Don't Be Creepy

NOON -- The Wall Street Journal had a sit-down over the weekend with Google CEO Eric Schmidt. It got decidedly creepy:

  • "I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions," he elaborates. "They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

    Let's say you're walking down the street. Because of the info Google has collected about you, "we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are." Google also knows, to within a foot, where you are. Mr. Schmidt leaves it to a listener to imagine the possibilities: If you need milk and there's a place nearby to get milk, Google will remind you to get milk. It will tell you a store ahead has a collection of horse-racing posters, that a 19th-century murder you've been reading about took place on the next block.

Oh, but I can imagine all kinds of other possibilities. Can you?

  • Mr. Schmidt is a believer in targeted advertising because, simply, he's a believer in targeted everything: "The power of individual targeting—the technology will be so good it will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them..."

    Mr. Schmidt says regulation is unnecessary because Google faces such strong incentives to treat its users right, since they will walk away the minute Google does anything with their personal information they find "creepy."

Trust us! I find targeted advertising creepy enough, but the kids do seem to like it. And he has additional, totally non-creepy advice for them:

  • He predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends' social media sites.

That sounds like a plan. Hell, I changed my species.

— Larry, Attack Monkey, Light Reading

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