Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Google and Gingrich--They Don't Get Me At All

Some people who live on remote mountain ridges worry about the government tracking their movements and infringing their rights. I assume that's why Newt Gingrich called me on behalf of the NRA a few days ago, to warn me that "Obama's gonna take your guns." (His elocution was a little more sophisticated, but he was just echoing the same old theme I've been hearing since 2008.) Of course, I asked Newt why Obama hasn't gotten it done yet, but, being a robo-call, Newt didn't answer.

I'm more concerned about giant corporations than intrusive government. When I found this link to Google's ad targeting data based on my searches, I expected them to know things about me I feared to admit even to myself. I imagined an ominous combination of Santa Claus and Orwell's Big Brother. Instead, it seems, Big Brother doesn't get me at all. Here's how Google sees me:

Your categories:
Business & Industrial
Computers & Electronics - Software
Computers & Electronics - Software - Operating Systems - Linux & Unix
Shopping - Apparel
Localities - North America-USA-South(USA)-West Virginia

Your demographics:
We infer your age and gender based on the websites 
you've visited. You can remove or edit these at 
any time.
Age: 35-44
Gender: Male

I expected all those searches for antique crochet patterns and sewing supplies would have given a different demographic profile. But perhaps midlife male computer nerds are exploring their softer side with vintage-styled handmade lace. And, from an advertiser's viewpoint, Wal-Mart is the only place in our area where you can buy steel crochet hooks and computer hardware.

To see how Google identifies you as an advertising target, you can visit Google's Ads on the Web.


Katie (Nature ID) said...

This is too funny, in a sick sort of way. Are you going to edit your demographics? Google apparently thinks I'm 20 years younger than I really am. I'm not sure how to take that.

Rebecca Clayton said...

I think I'd like to watch my demographics and see if they change over time. And do you suppose they're low-balling ages to flatter users?

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Hey, I just checked again. I've apparently already aged 25 years in 4 days and am somehow interested in video games(???). They also seem to think an interest in home & garden means cookware & diningware. Where's the interest in the outdoors and nature? This is more fun than looking at my blog stats.

Rebecca Clayton said...

My demographics haven't changed, but now I'm interested in "puzzles and brain teasers." This IS fascinating.