I was concerned last week when I heard about Google’s plan to share information across all Google accounts. But then prompted by this story on NPR last night, I dialed up my “Ads Preferences Mananger Page,” and this was the extent of the personal information I found:
We infer your age and gender based on the websites you’ve visited. You can remove or edit
these at any time.
I wonder how many middle-aged or elderly men do their online shopping at (for example) American Girl Place, the Discovery Channel store, Zappos, Garnet Hill, Title Nine, and Athleta? Seriously: who else but women 30-60 shop at those last three places? Maybe science geek transvestite grandfathers? So by my lights, I don’t think I have a lot to worry about from the Google at this point. I think they’ll have a hard time being truly evil when their guesses as to who I am are so completely wrong. (I’ve been wondering why the Google ads I get are all asking me if I want to meet single women 40-50 in Greeley, Colorado. Now I know!) What links am I reading that make Google think I’m 15-20 years older and the opposite sex? (What kinds of crazzy gendered assumptions do their algorhythms make? That’s maybe the question that really interests me.)
Just for fun, please follow click this link to go to your own Ads Preferences Manager page, and report the results–and your assessment of their accuracy–in the comments below.