Leo: "You search [Google] for psoriasis and you are telling the world..." Jeff: "So what if you have psoriasis.... what's the harm to [a patient who has type 2 diabetes] and google gives you ads.... we have to get down to [what is the real harm] and not have this discussion up here about creepyland"
That's the start of the conversation at towards the end of episode 132 of This Week in Google. Jeff Jarvis goes on to suggest Google has a vested interest in protecting people's data. He makes the point, if Google were to cross a line from what is perceived as creepy into actual malicious harm, their goose would be cooked. People would never use Google again. Jeff thinks the benefit we get from Google knowing more about us, coupled with their business interest, outweigh the risks.
Is he right? Do you think search engines know too much about us based on our search habits? What about this conversation in particular, around health related searches - a topic many hold as close to the vest as financial records?
I see both sides of the coin. I recognize the concern many have about not wishing to disclose sensitive health data for a various number of reasons - secrecy, perceived fear of insurance or employer reaction, data ownership, etc. I also see the value in a site like google knowing enough about me to return relevant results, based on a holistic picture of me. So what if they serve me related ads at the same time?
Curious what you think...