16 июл. 2006 г.

Google News: Getting a Little Too Personal?

Posted by Fons Tuinstra, poynter.org

I'm an avid user of Google News in every language I'm able to read, but yesterday they went one step too far.

Google News
I saw this offer first at their Dutch news search and not yet in other languages, so I guess this is a beta service not available in many languages yet. Google is offering to to adjust my news searches according to my personal preferences. (Note: this is not the "personalize this page" option available in the English-language site, which only affects page layout.)

While that sounds like a kind offer, the question is: How would Google know which news I want? Well, they offer to let loose their algorithms on my search history.

I enjoyed watching Google outsmart media companies by offering me a better service than any media company could offer by itself. But do I want them to outsmart me? Maybe I have missed just another station in the way ahead to progress, but this doesn't feel good.

All right -- there might be a fair chance that Google might know what I want better than I know myself, in my chaotic, incoherent way of searching for news. But if that's the case, do I want to know they know me so well?

Google makes it easy to opt out of this service. However, my inquisitive nature might just make me to ignore that option. Yet another weekend ahead to contemplate about rather fundamental issues.