Ask anyone to describe Google and they will immediately respond, “It’s a search engine.” While Google still derives a ridiculous amount of revenue from this core product, the company is so much more than its founding product.
In emails and blog posts announcing the new, simplified policy, which goes into effect on March 1of this year, Google says it will use data collected from user activities to personalize its services.
“We can provide more relevant ads,” Alma Whitten, director of privacy, product and engineering, said in a blog post. “For example, it’s January, but maybe you’re not a gym person, so fitness ads aren’t that useful to you.”
She goes on to point out that, beyond just better- targeted ads, “We can provide reminders that you’re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what the traffic is like that day.”
In this last example, Google could also serve mobile ads that show you a great restaurant at your destination for lunch or offer coupons for retailers in the area. How could this be anything but good for advertisers, for the consumer, and for Google?
At least two Capitol Hill lawmakers -- one on the House side and one on the Senate -- are making noises about investigating whether or not this new policy tramples on rights to privacy. Given that Google provides nearly all its services for free and consumers do have a choice of which services they use for search, email, photo sharing, videos and more, I can’t see how Google is doing anything out of the ordinary.
Indeed, Google is transforming itself in a way that’s good for everyone.