Thursday, May 03, 2007

Google History

Have you checked out Google history? You should. It is awesome, and brilliant and scary, all at the same time. If you have read my blog before and wondered about my posts on Attention, or went and read some Goldhaber stuff, or checked out, and you still find that this topic is a bit academic or difficult to grok, then I suggest you go check out Google History.

A week or two ago, I read a post about Google history and quickly signed up and allowed the logging of all my data in a variety of categories. Then I forgot about it, much the same way I keep my Attention recorder running on my browser (By the way...When is going to fix their security certificate? Very disappointing, but that is another post...).

Earlier this week I went in to see what was in my Google history goodie bag. The main page is a chronological listing of all the pages I clicked on from now going backwards. I have this in as well but I get to block out certain domains I may not want to record (things like ego surfing my site statistics). Not here, everything gets recorded. Not really a problem, but still kind of freaky when you sit down and think about it and then multiply me by the population of the web world who uses Google. I am creeping you out yet?

I can then slice it more finely by looking at just news, or images or videos etc. especially for Google related services. Not too shabby.

I then click on trends which slices out the top queries, top sites, and top clicks. Are you still wondering why they are making so much money in advertising? Hold on there is more...I almost forgot to add you can slice that by week, month, all time etc.

My favorite part though, and where I think it all really comes together is the tab called interesting items. Here Google has determined other searches, pages, videos and gadgets that might be relevant to what I have been up to while surfing on the web. The list of pages is pretty impressive as we have been doing the fund raising exercise and the top 10 list for me includes nine venture firms and a buyout firm. Uncanny. I am curious though on how they rank them. Could it mean that the sum total of my interests (wireless, media, etc) when intersected with venture fund raising means that these are the best prospects for closing a round with those specific venture firms? Hard to say. In any event I was pretty surprised that there weren't fantasy football references or NFL draft results or other items which given the recent NFL draft would make the most sense. Maybe the algorithm is skewed?

In any case, if you have the slightest interest in Attention or wanting to understand the data you are throwing off when you mindlessly browse and search the web, I would certainly recommend that you check this service out. In any event, Google isn't the only company tracking this data (Yahoo, Doubleclick, AOL, etc.) and I think it is important we all be cognizant of the invisible transactions we are all generating behind the scenes with our web based actions. A final note is that I am not a Google hater or fearer as I know some are. I use Blogger, Google, Gmail, Google Apps and occasionally Google Maps. I get that the price of the services I am using are a value exchange that they need to offset by profiling me in great deal to yield high advertising returns. I would however like for Google to give me the option to keep my own copy of all the data they are keeping on me in the event that I want to use it for my own benefit somewhere down the road. You know, like when I am trying to decide which venture firms I should call on first, or which ones I should cross off the list. :-)

1 comment: said...

Interesting post. Bear with us wrt as we are transitioning the Vault to over the coming weeks (Ill be sending out update to all Vault users shortly). Sorry about annoying certificate lapse. Other good stuff underway with new team based out in SF