Recently I looked into taking a mid-winter trip to Iceland to be present there for the Winter Solstice. And it turns out that the only airline that flies to this small country of 320,000 people is Iceland Air. It turns out that this year we won’t go but perhaps sometime soon.
Now if you looked at the title of this essay you may be asking – “just want is so creepy about Iceland” and the answer is nothing.
But for weeks now I have been getting ads inside pages that show up with ads for Icelandic Air. And that is where the creepy parts starts. A brief whimsy about a trip and now I am constantly reminded that I have not yet booked my trip to Iceland. How did this happen? It happened because I wrote to a friend using gmail about this idea for the trip and even shared some Iceland Air flight times and dates. That was enough, Google had me. And the ads started to show up each time I did a web search.
Now lately I have been using Google Hangouts quite a bit for voice and video calls and SWG team conferences. And what we discuss is private or at least we would like to think so. Right?
But if you have heard about Siri which is Apple’s voice recognition and command system – which I have to say is very good for my uses – the buzz from others is that Google’s is much better and handle’s a wider range of voices and languages.
So how soon will Google be using the voice traffic flowing through the system to do targeted ads and reference selling based on voice input? And how much more communication do we do daily using our voices than we do with email? And how much more private do we think our voice conversations are than email?
Suppose there was a phone app that used little power but listened to you ALL THE TIME using your mobile phone’s microphone and capabilities. Would we start getting ads for deeply personal stuff?
I see you may be running out of condoms Tom, so I have taken the liberty of ordering some for you from Amazon …
And what if a few years behind this comes development of visual input and understanding again for helping target our needs?
You see gMail is free just because Google reads it and uses the information in a “non-personally-intrusive” ways to target ads for their users. But voice and visual cues are even more powerful, I suspect. So could it be that Google is offering free voice and video chatting, meetings and phone service so that they can expand their knowledge of how to be a more effective advertising platform?
Hmmm. More than 90% of Google’s revenue comes from ads. Right?
There is no other motive for offering free services than to gain advantage to your main business purpose and to increase that revenue.
Welcome to the future. Are you a deep user of Google Hangouts? Do you like them more than Skype?
How far behind do you think Microsoft is in this game? (They do own Skype …)