I love Google, but I have to say lately Google has started to remind me of my Mother-in-law.
Here’s what I mean.
Google announced recently that they are going to be personalizing search results even if you are not logged into a Google account.
Presumably this means they will use your own search and surf patterns (or the ones of your PC – ever heard about shared PC’s?) and perhaps extrapolate from your IP Address (maybe people in your area or using your ISP have certain patterns of interest?) anyway Google will use this to give you more of what they think you like.
Let me tell you a story. My in-laws live in California, and are terrific people. When my wife and I got married my mother-in-law apparently really liked me and the first time I visited she went out of her way to find out what I liked so she could get it for me. I am fond of blueberries. Well, MIL found out and Boom! – 2 lbs of fresh blueberries. every day. So I branched out. I also like raspberries. Boom! raspberries and blueberries. You get the idea.
Sometimes I’m polite and I say something like, “thanks, the Hungarian goulash was really good.” even when I don’t actually love goulash. Next thing you know, “yep, Sam loves goulash, I’ll make him goulash every time I see him.”
So I end up eating a lot of blueberries and goulash and less of things I might really enjoy, like ribs, lasagna, etc.
So now I am more than a little weary of trying new things when my Mother-in-law is around – she’ll probably decide it’s my favorite and serve it up to me again and again.
Personalization should be a choice – when you go to your favorite eatery – the place where they know you – they usually don’t serve you that thing you always order – first they ask, “You havin’ your usual today?”
So Google, if you dont want to be my mother-in-law, please don’t decide what I like based on what I liked in the past, or what people like me usually like. There’s a lot to be said for exposure to new ideas, new websites etc.