Suyash Dixit

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Google can know what you are thinking from past few years?

This sounds wired but is it true that if you own a search engine and if people come to search web from your service you can track their way of thinking and objective of life? Just like me, I am using Google from past 8-9 years and my search queries on google can tell them my thinking level and trends of my life like what type of person I am if am searching a lot from technology field.
and I doubt in this way Google can even track my ideas...and may know what type of human I am.
What do you think?

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    Lejan .

    • +1
    Dec 1 2012: A trained profiler can get a pretty good idea about your personality, provided that your trace record at Google (and other search engines) is complete and that you did not know that you have been monitored for profiling reasons.

    Who do you think gets asked first if an intelligence agency is interested in you?

    Before they are going to 'browse' your garbage can for hints it is much easier to find out what you were 'browsing' on the internet.

    What do you think most of the site-cookies in your browser are doing? The most 'feeding' purpose of those cookies are information exchange from you to those who are interested in you, statistically, at first.

    The power of internet traces get unleashed the very moment you get to put a 'name-tag' on them. This is the moment where the crystal-ball is really lightening up. The smallest of the problems you then come to face is tailor-made advertising, one of the biggest a pretty accurate personal profile, most likely, beginning with your sexual preferences over political attitude towards a long list of 'likes' and 'dislikes', fields of interests and personal hobbies.

    What more than this describes the ' type of human' you are?

    The fact to know what you choose, gives hints on what you don't choose as well.

    Of course no one can 'track your ideas', but it would not be a difficult task to define by this knowledge which ideas are more likely to form within your mind than others probably would.

    Especially on a forum like this one, were people exchanging their minds, is a beutiful source of information for professional profilers. Once you get personally identified, you are pretty much an open book to those who wish to 'read' you.

    So you better be careful in case you plan for a great revolution or coup, as you never really know who is watching you on the internet... ;o)
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    Gail .

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    Dec 2 2012: I love learning, so Google history might tell them that I am schizophrenic, if they really wanted to form an opinion of me. Of course, that opinion is really that of the observer making the judgment (or the creator of the algorithm that determines the final decree). Another observer might realize that my search history is vast and wildly diverse. This might lead them to believe that I am intellectually curious.

    If someone wants to know what kind of person I am, they merely need to observe me or read my words on sites such as these.

    Google uses its conclusions to increase its profits. You are small potatoes, but trends of a very large group pay very large profits. In a world where 1 billion people per month use the service, it would take enormous (wasted) effort to track a single person down - unless there was cause. If all your queries are about how to make a nuclear weapon (which used to be posted on-line), then I would think that those individuals queries would be watched.

    I don't worry about it.
  • Dec 2 2012: You are writing what you think, here on TED, for the whole world to read. If Google wants to know what you think, they could just read TED, they don't even have to register.

    I expect that Google can learn a great deal about you from your searches, if they want to go to the trouble.

    Personally, I doubt that Google is that much interested in me. If they were, they have only to ask, and I will gladly tell them what I think

    I think the privacy issue is very misunderstood. Most of us have never given much thought to what information we want to keep private. Between the extremes of keeping some information completely private and making other information publicly available (like here on TED) there is a whole matrix of possibilities, represented by who can have access to each piece of information. We do not fully understand what information about us is already available to others. For example, if you consistently use your debit card to buy groceries at a local store, that grocer could use the history of you purchases to fairly accurately calculate your annual income. The types of items you buy could be used to determine what gift catalogs you are likely to prefer. The grocer could sell that history of purchases to anyone. That is just one store. There are probably corporations that have compiled your entire history of purchases, excepting cash purchases.

    If this seems scary, consider that it has probably already occurred, and consider how much harm this has caused you.

    IMO, privacy is largely a myth. I doubt very much that protecting the little privacy that we actually have left would be worth the trouble.
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    Dec 1 2012: This thing is simply SCARY and honestly it has been preoccupying me for quite some time. It is mind-blowing to think that they could track someone's ideas based on the history of their searches but who knows?

    Can one really get to know somebody based on the intel collected over, say, a decade? I am not sure, but even if not, what they know might be enough to keep people in check.

    Anyway, I do not like the direction in which the technology is developing, but there is very little that can be done about it. Normally I would not worry because I know that a movement in one direction sparks a countermovement in the opposite direction. Here, however, a movement in the opposite direction to technology would not be desirable. Humanity can not go back to the 18th century or become cavemen again (just like destroying technology during the days of early industrialization was not the best choice).

    The real threat posed by the rapid development of technology is a complete subjugation of an indvidual to those who have the information.

    What the world really needs then is a movemnet parallel to technology that would make humans deeper and less dependent on technology.

    In fact, I have one solution on my mind.
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      Dec 1 2012: Well, sometimes there are little things to gain back some of our privacy without the need for a whole countermovement and some are free of charge too:

      Personally I was surprised of the quantity this little tool blocks in tracking. Maybe you are interested too.
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        Dec 1 2012: It is without a doubt a great idea, if only I believed in free lunches. Using ghostery could endanger me even more as I am sending a clear message that I do not wish to be tracked.

        Or am I paranoid?
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          Dec 1 2012: Throughout my whole childhood all my lunches were free, so I assume you are paranoid ...

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        Dec 1 2012: I am not even arguing with it :)
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          Dec 1 2012: Never mind, we all have our weaknesses... ;o)

          And the day they lock me in because they tagged me, you can rightfully say: See, I told him!