Searching into the future

Posted on June 26, 2007

I have been an ardent subscriber to the Google theory since nearly the beginning. Here it was, just a little search engine that was way better than anything else out there. So now, the behemoth company has tons of data and information about you and nearly everyone else. What happens now?

For starters, there's the issue of an individual's right to privacy. As of now, Google states that it keeps 18 months of a user's personal search history. Assuming that you have a Google account, you know that it can potentially be handy to look back and review what you have searched, since it could lead to determining what you need.

But with anything on the Internet, there are no guarantees.

Should any business be allowed to keep this sort of personal information? Honestly, if you don't like it, you don't have to compile searches will being logged in to your account. To me, this is a non-issue. True, Google can track IP addresses and ultimately determine why there are thousands of searches for "fastest Rubix Cube time" from your household.

The problem I have, however, is the fact that Google seems to think that it will be able to answer more hypothetical questions by keeping a user's information. From the BBC article, CEO Eric Schmidt proclaimed that the search engine might be able to answer questions like "What shall I do tomorrow?" and "Which college should I go to?"

This seems nearly ludicrous to me. Just because I'm searching for the fastest Rubix Cube time (looks like 11.13 seconds, by the way) one day doesn't mean I'm interested in it on another. I look up things all the time that have nothing to do with anything, and therefore, really have no intrinsic value over a period of time. Other things do have a more meaningful purpose, but under most circumstances, I take further action to remember those items (bookmark the site, send an email found on a site, etc.)

I'm not certain of the reasoning behind this, but if Google thinks it will be able to predict the future, then maybe I should unsubscribe from this theory.