Saturday afternoon I made some sausages with a mate. Pork & Fennel, Chicken with Tuscan seasoning and Lamb with Rosemary and Honey. And as always when we finish making the sausages, we BBQ them up for our families. Delicious. If you make your own sausages, you will never eat supermarket sausages again. And on this particular evening we had a slightly disturbing discussion, not around the sausages, but around privacy and the internet.
- The mate, who I’ll call Jimmy, has rented a campervan to take his kids to outback South Australia over the holidays. Clearly, his intentions had been picked up by his web browser (Google Chrome) and now when he surfs the web, he is endlessly served up advertising for Maui vans by Google Ads. Unfortunately Google can only infer his intentions to rent a campervan. Its not able to determine that he no longer has the need as he has rented one. This has both irritated him and creeped him out a little.
- Secondly there was a discussion around search results. As we use web browsers more and more to conduct our business, more and more information is collected about us. This combined with search engine innovation means that every search we conduct is now being tailored more and more to us invidiously. The end result is that if you and I both search for the term like say “ceramic tile suppliers” we are starting to get different search results. None of us at the table couldn’t figure out how this wouldn’t kill a large chunk of business for those offering Search Engine Optimisation services, as there task becomes pretty much impossible – if not pointless in the first place.
- The third thing was discussed was that one of us at the dinner table, setup a Facebook account with a false name, using a temporary email address and connected to the other members of her family to see what would happen. She hasn’t apparently responded to any offers or installed any apps. It took a couple of months, but offers for goods and services have started to trickle in to her email account. But chillingly some of them aren’t just spam, they are optimised to information from her fake profile, including the suburb where she lives.
Now I get the fact that there is no privacy on the internet, but I am starting to wonder where there is all going. Especially when the comment was made, “You know we are still at day one of the internet”. At least the sausages were good.