Google raised a lot of eyebrows when it introduced the Google+-infused Search Plus Your World personal results to its bread and butter Search results, but the most publicized criticisms have come from big name social competitors like Twitter and Facebook. What does Joe Everyman think about personalized search results? A new survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project asked 2,000 people that very question -- and most say that hand-tailored results are a "Bad thing."
Where data is concerned, there are few companies that even come close to rivaling the size of Facebook’s data reserves, constantly replenished by a ceaseless stream of Likes and much more. But as they often say, with large amounts of data comes great responsibility. And that is where the European Commission (EC) seems to have a problem with the world’s largest social network.
Okay, they don't know exactly who you are, but these high-tech advertizing platforms can determine what sort of person you might be. A consortium of 11 railway companies are running a one year trial called the Digital Signage Promotion Project. The billboards will be able to scan individuals and determine their age and gender.
The identification process is apparently quite fast, requiring that people only glance at the display for a moment. Facial recognition software is used to determine who is viewing the advertisement, but the images captured are supposed to be deleted afterward. Operators will not be matching ads to individual people, only to demographics. So, we're still a ways away from the Minority Report system that remembers your purchases.
So exactly how weird does this seem to you? We're constantly being advertised to on the internet based on our demographics. Is it just the image capture element that makes these new billboards feel shady?
This change would likely give application developers and advertisers access to user data they have not previously had. One key beneficiary of the change is Apple itself. With the new iAd platform rolling out, having more leeway in how user location data is used could make targeted ads more effective.
Many of these privacy changes tend to get blown out of proportion. After all, is this much different than what Google does? Our real concern here is the lack of detail Apple goes into regarding just who would have access to the data, and how long it would be retained. We know from the past AOL search data leak and Netflix records that it is possible to identify people in anonymous data. Does this new policy concern you?
Get ready to kiss your privacy goodbye. Those horrifying billboards from Minority Report that know everything about you are one step closer to reality. Japan’s NEC has created the Next Generation Digital Signage Solution, a system that tailors ads based on who is looking at it.
This new system isn’t going so far as scanning your iris to look you up in a huge advertising database like in the movie, but it is guessing what you might like based on age and gender. The billboards will be able to determine gender and age to within 10 years by snapping a photo. Some are already crying foul, claiming the signs would be an invasion of privacy. NEC claims the ads would be anonymous and the digital imaging system would delete the images of people used to build the ads.
Do you think this is an acceptable system? It could mean you’d see ads that are more relevant to you, but does anyone really care about that? If this scares you, then start putting together a disguise now. NEC says several companies are interested in the signs, and they might make it stateside in late 2010.
The best times to beset the phone user with audio ads, according to the application, are when the call is on hold, when the call is suspended, and when it is being dialed. Furthermore, the ads will be targeted at a certain demographic. Delivering precisely targeted ads would undoubtedly require that the system be fed information about phone users. It is still too early to say what exactly Google has on its mind.