Response to Eric Schmidt Wired Interview: Should Consumers be Afraid of Google's Control?

Apr 17, 2007 • 8:27 am | comments (0) by | Filed Under Other Google Topics

In response to a Wired interview with Eric Schmidt, a Cre8asite Forums member found some troubling comments made by Mr. Schmidt.

First, he found Google's desire to learn more about the user particularly irksome. In response to a question about improving ad quality, Schmidt says that Google is seeking out personal information.

What does it take to improve the quality of ads on Google?

More computers, basically, and better algorithms. And more information about you. The more personal information you're willing to give us - and you have to choose to give it to us - the more we can target. The standard example is: When you say "hot dog," are you referring to the food, or is your dog hot? So the more personalized the information, the better the targeting.

Schmidt goes further to state that Google will soon find out what users are watching, which again troubles the member:

Now, let's look at television. Every one of the next generation of cable set-top boxes is going to get upgraded to an IP-addressable set-top box. So all of a sudden, that set-top box is a computer that we can talk to. We can't tell whether it's the daughter or the son or the husband or the wife in a household. All we know is we're just talking to the television. But that's pretty targetable because family buying patterns are pretty predictable, and you can see what programs they're watching. And if you're watching a YouTube video, we know you're watching that video.

Moderator Barry Welford has some important feedback regarding this approach.

Google like many other smart, arrogant companies thinks it knows what's best for its customers. ... What they're missing out on is the whole customer-centric view that customers want to decide what's best for them. Customers want to be in control. ... Google should really factor this reality into its strategic planning.

Others feel that this is the future and it just so happens that Google is in it:

So as you see, what Google does and plans to do for me is not so much a case of Google forcing a certain future upon us; Google itself is part of that very future.

Is it scary? It certainly seems so. With Google in control of so much information, people are worried.

You can offer your perspective at Cre8asite Forums.

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