Google “Chrome” Will Know Everything About You!

JacobMorgan
Jacob Morgan Principal, Chess Media Group

Posted on September 3rd 2008

So we all know that Google “Chrome” has launched right?  Personally, “Chrome” makes me feel like a 10 year old trying to use the internet, I mean the whole UI just feels very childish, but that's beside the point.  What nobody seems to be addressing is the information that Google will now have about its users.

Google made a brilliant move.  Advertising is gearing more towards extreme targeting, meaning the more you know about someone the more targeted of an ad you can show them.  If you're the number one search engine in the world and you wanted to capture more information on your users, what would you do?  Create your own browser.

It was long rumored that the Google toolbar (the little add on that gives you the green bar, your supposed page rank) was a secret spy that collected information from your browsing pattens.  My SEO colleagues tested this and found out it was true.  Now imagine the information you are going to be giving to Google when you are using their browser?  Google is going to have information on all of your click patterns, your site history, etc.  Who knows, using the browser may even help fuel the google analytics tool that so many people are using on their sites.

I think in the next few years we are going to start to see Google develop a targeted ad placement platform like no other.  With around 70% market share in the U.S. Google is going to have more data on everyone's browsing history than you can imagine.  I'm sure when it comes time for Google to go after the mobile advertising space that they will have a “mobile” version of Chrome that will allow them to also serve extreme targeted mobile ads as well.

Since Chrome is so new there haven't been any tests yet to determine what information Google can actually get from us, but I can tell you that it does feel a little bit like Big Brother is watching you, don't you think?

I'm not saying use or don't use Google Chrome, I'm merely trying to give my take on the new move that Google has made and what it is going to mean for us as users and what is going to mean for advertisers.

What do you think about Google's move to launch their own browser?


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JacobMorgan

Jacob Morgan

Principal, Chess Media Group

Principal and co-founder of Chess Media Group, a management consulting and strategic advisory firm on employee, customer, and partner collaboration. Author of "The Collaborative Organization," the first comprehensive strategy guide to emergent collaboration in the workplace- endorsed by executives such as the former CIO of the USA, CMO of SAP, CEO of Unisys, CMO of Dell, and dozens of others, available wherever books are sold!  On Twitter @JacobM.

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Comments

RachelHappe
Posted on September 3rd 2008 at 1:57PM
For this reason Google scares the &*^* out of me - the entity that controls the information of a society eventually controls the society itself.

We've already seen the Google search algorithm have a huge affect on how organizations publish content. Google assigns more relevance to things that are popular and recent than to accuracy of information or a moderate perspective on something (which usually is not the thing that drives the most traffic).  This is playing out in national politics - the divisive is becoming more 'popular' than the moderate.  This may not be Google's intention...after all they just want to sell more advertising...but it is a consequence that scares me.

I personally block Google cookies and try to spread my searches out across multiple search engines.  Maybe is sounds a bit paranoid but Google is amassing a great deal of power over our culture that I am not personally comfortable with.

 No matter how cool Chrome is, I am not planning on using it.

JacobMorgan
Posted on September 3rd 2008 at 4:37PM
Hi Rachel,  the SEO tests that my team have been doing definitely show that page age is a factor in rankings, however google has over 250 variables that they consider before they assign relevancy scores.  we have A LOT of data  on how google scores data.  you are correct though, google definitely has a lot of influence on the world in general.  it's a bit scary to think how a search engine can become so powerful.
RachelHappe
Posted on September 3rd 2008 at 10:05PM
Good to know - thanks Jacob...still don't like their level of visibility into information access and consumption though :)
deemer
Posted on September 4th 2008 at 1:31AM
Having been online for many years, I often see the "big brother" post.  Immediately, I tend to agree; but then I think about my browsing habits.  What would I not want others to see?  That I looked for tennis rackets for my son?  Searching a phone number for a dog groomer? 

What information is it exactly that we're afraid of "them" having?

I actually block most ads w/ add-on browser tools; however, if I were to see them, I would welcome ads that were actually relevant to my surfing habits.  A new deal on tennis equipment? ..coupons for dog grooming? ...bring them on!  In fact, if I could be assured that the ads I see would ONLY be relevant to my purchasing and/or surfing, I'd drop the 'ad blocker' all together.

So, why do we care if "they" collect this information again?

Robin Carey
Posted on September 4th 2008 at 1:33PM
Highly targeted ad service, whether a good thing as Deemer says above, or a bad thing, as Rachel and Jacob seem to believe, is still only highly targeted ad service.  It doesn't create a "conversation," the consumer has no input and cannot "do" anything more than click to a home page.  Powerful, yes, in terms of the targeting information to marketers, scary if you are competing in this space, but ultimately not a breakthrough in how to engage a customer.
ariherzog
Posted on September 4th 2008 at 2:48PM
Rachel: Can you share which other search engines you use for comparative results?
JacobMorgan
Posted on September 4th 2008 at 6:00PM
Hi Robin,  I don't think that targeted ad service is a bad thing at all.  I just find it interesting that nobody has been addressing what I believe to be one of the main reasons for google's new browser release.  you are correct that no conversations are created.  i think once google has enough time to collect data from the users it really will be a breakthrough in advertising, imagine knowing EXACTLY what your consumers want and are looking for.  there are some servicec out there that do a decent job of this but nothing will compare to what google is going to be able to do.  click through rates will increase and more and more advertisers are going to start using ppc.  in addition we have seen some ad experimentation that actually asks for feedback based on the relevancy of the ads you receive.  the conversation is coming...
RachelHappe
Posted on September 4th 2008 at 6:26PM
Hi Ari - I use MSN, Yahoo, Ask - nothing profound but each has an interesting twist. Clusty.com is also interesting. I'm not scared by ad targeting...what scares me is the combination of search habits, browsing behavior, and visibility into what content is being consumed at thousands of sites that are using Google Analytics.  Now Google has visibility into what creates demand, how people get to content, and they can alter what content gets exposed through their search and advertising optimization engines (which have different 'relevance' algorithms).  Publishers now have to play by the rules Google sets and while Google has done nothing overtly evil with that control...it is a slippery slope.  I don't mean to sound overly paranoid but they have massive amounts of data on who, how, and what people consume.
rizwantayabali
Posted on September 8th 2008 at 8:31AM

Hi Jacob, you make a good point. One of the reasons I'd be very nervous about using Chrome as my browser is that I just don't believe that my browsing information will not be used to learn more about me as an individual. This is not such a concern with IE or Firefox, because neither Microsoft nor Mozilla's business models are based around targeted advertising, and I'm consequently not quite as worried about them building profiles of me for future reference.

The fear may be irrational, but the fact is that many people (particularly non-tech users) will worry about this and I just don't see how Google can counter it in any way. On the other hand, I'm not sure how much of an impact Chrome is actually going to make on the mass majority since it doesn't fundamentally change or improve the browsing experience, so why would most people bother to learn a new interface?. Firefox probably needs to be more concerned than IE. Some more thoughts on this in my post "The Future is Chrome.. or is it?"

Regard
(www.urbansurvivalproject.org)

JacobMorgan
Posted on September 8th 2008 at 6:04PM
hi rizwan, we will just have to see what the overall reaction and user rate of chrome is.  still to early to tell but one thing is clear and that is chrome will have some very in depth info on it's users.  also not sure what chrome can do to counter this "fear."  I mean even if chrome tells us they won't collect any info is the world really going to believe them?  firefox should be a bit more concerned but i think the overall consensus thus far is the firefox is the superior browser.  thanks for taking the time to read and comment!       Jacob
sameer
Posted on September 20th 2008 at 5:31AM
hey jacob,
i agree with with you that its too early to rate chrome and its impact, given that it is still in Beta version and that too for the Windows OS.
Also, Google has started a new service called Google Image Labeler, refer: http://images.google.com/imagelabeler/