The most powerful company on the Internet just got a whole lot creepier:
Without much fanfare, Google announced news this
week of a new advertising project,
Conversions API, that will let businesses
build all-encompassing user profiles based off of not just what users search
for on the Web, but what they purchase outside of the home.
“Conversions,” tech-speak for the digital metric made by every action a user makes online, are incomplete until coupled with real life data, Google says.
Thus, Google says,
The blog goes on to explain that in-store transactions, call-tracking and other online activities can be inputted into Google to be combined with other information,
Google is all but certain to ensure that all user data collected off- and online will be cloaked through safeguards that will allow for complete and total anonymity for customers.
When on-the-Web interactions start mirroring real life activity, though, even a certain degree of privacy doesn’t make Conversions API any less creepy.
As Jim Edwards writes for Business Insider,
Of course, there is always the possibility that all of this information can be unencrypted and, in some cases, obtained by third-parties that you might not want prying into your personal business.
Edwards notes in his report that Google does not explicitly note that intelligence used in Conversions API will be anonymized, but the blowback from not doing as much would sure be enough to start a colossal uproar.
Meanwhile, however, all of the information being collected by Google - estimated to be on millions of servers around the globe - is being handed over to more than just advertising companies.
Last month Google reported that the US government requested personal information from roughly 8,000 individual users during just the first few months of 2012.