Is Google Going Behavioral?

Search Engine Land, Friday, June 27, 2008 3 PM
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Barry Schwartz piggybacks on a New York Times article that focuses on Google's usage of past queries to serve more relevant ads. While the giant isn't going back by days into searchers' histories, Nick Fox (Google's director of business product management) did admit that some ads would be served based on a user's previous two or three queries.

To track even a few searches, however, would require some form of cookie to be served to a user--the foundation for behavioral targeting at its simplest. "Obtaining the latest query does not require cookies to be assigned and tracked for that search," Schwartz says. "But to track a query from five searches ago, you will need to assign a cookie to that searcher and track his queries. Then Google can use that 'cookied' data to tailor the ads from a query done several searches ago."

While Fox did not go on the record regarding Google's use of cookies, Schwartz says that many in the industry believe it's the only logical way the new ad-serving model could work. So it seems that Google may be jumping into the behavioral targeting space--territory the giant's brass has repeatedly said the company would stay away from.

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