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Google thinks I’m a boy!

February 22, 2012

Given all the shakeup in the discussion on Internet privacy these days, I decided to take some time to click through Google’s new privacy policies. I logged into my university e-mail account (a university-hosted Google apps setup), opened up the overview of Google’s privacy Policies & Principles, and started clicking around. Imagine my surprise when I discovered…Google thinks I’m a boy! Or better: it’s classified me under the demographics “Age: 25-35” and “Gender: Male” for advertising purposes. The proof:

Even more shocking, though: Google thinks I like basketball! I am stunned. I have never been to a basketball game in my life. (Well, except for the one time when I was in the high school pep band and was forced to go play cymbals on “The Star Spangled Banner”.) How could Google’s algorithms be so shockingly misinformed? Or is it me? Have I been behaving in a manner recently that would suggest I actually like basketball?

I’m at a loss here. Do I go in now and correct it, only to discover that it has me liking hockey by next week? Or worse–horse racing?! Or do I keep up the ruse and just let it label me whatever the hell it wants to?

Whatever, Google. You don’t know me. Srsly. Back off.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cobo permalink
    March 20, 2012 12:03 pm

    The purpose of Google’s profile is to fine tune personalized and targeted advertising. so I figure you could take some consolation in the fact that it being grossly inaccurate reduces the potential revenue that they can make off of you. They want people to correct the inaccuracies to help improve their algorithms.

    With all free to use media and services we the users are basically the product that is being sold to the advertisers. Which isn’t all bad, I would hate to live in world where I had to pay 10 cents for every google search or facebook post, but it does make me take pause and think about what information I am willing to provide in trade for their service.

    But since Google guessed that my favorite flavor of sportsball (baseball), and it got my gender correct I suppose its natural that I feel less violated.

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