Google is Watching
- September 7, 2009
- by Neil Fairweather
Love it or loath it Google is an increasingly dominant force, in the same way Microsoft was in the 90’s and IBM in the 80’s.
Articles such as curbs urged for behavioural ads show us that as soon as Google offer more sophisticated targeting to advertisers there are user groups wanting to dispel their approach, and place restrictions (via congress) through “opt in” measures.
I jump to the defence of Google, not due to me having an affinity with them but, because this has been happening for years now. As and when Google try to offer better targeting the case is brought into the wider public domain for review and discussion about its intrusive nature, mostly just because it is the big G.
Amazon is a great example of an early adopter using behavioural targeting to improve user experience. Amazon, one of the longest serving and well respected ecommerce sites, has been offering targeted services to its users for many years. I appreciate this about Amazon as its sophisticated monitoring suggests additional products based on your previous purchasing behaviour when you return to the site. Furthermore, they retarget you through email and other channels to retain you as a customer based on consumer behaviour (even at specific times of the year).
Google is a search engine that you (the user) choose to use, and should you (the user) wish for this not to happen you (the user) have the choice not to use its free services to find what you are looking for. Some would say this is a harsh portrayal of the article and the approach of consumer groups, however, I find this method of targeting adverts (if targeted well) as a major USP of Google’s advertising platform.
Ask the question – Would you prefer to see a group of search results and adverts that offer brands and services that bear no relevance to what you are looking for or like? Or would related and behavioural based adverts better suit your needs?
In summary, it is still not possible for Google to tell you (as a user) where you should go and what you should do but the aim is to provide the user with a smooth journey along the way, so that people continue to use the service, particularly with the increasing threat of Bing and Yahoo!. How much does this differ to your local bank or insurance company bringing you on board with one product and then trying to sell you related services or products along the way, based on your needs?
Let us remove ourselves from Googles back on this one as it is merely a late adopter to what has been happening for years with more popular brands.2 Comments