by anil on March 17, 2007
Now everyone is known to the world through an Email ID. Or if you know an Email address, you can trace down the person who owns it. That became magnificently possible with the social networking revolution on the Internet. But there is a limit to the extend of information you can dig out this way; to the extend the owner of the Email ID decides to expose about himself. We cannot go further down but Google does.
When you run a search in Google for the first time in your browser, Google will set a Cookie with a unique ID in your browser. There after, Google knows that all the searches you are running are coming from “you” and presumably they keep record of them all.
So, based on the searches you run on Google, they can build a “picture” about you–what you want, what you do, what’s bothering you, your interests, hobbies, and probably what are you planning to do this weekend. May be, after God (“Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” –Hebrews 4:13), Google knows you best. Now closest friend of man is not his wife or even a human being any more; it is Google (or Internet search engines in general). People share the most private thoughts with Google.
This is harmless till they link that “picture” with the real you. That happened with the introduction of Gmail. You might have noticed that even if you type gmail.com, you login to mail.google.com. The moment you successfully log in, they can associate the above-mentioned Cookie with your Email ID.
An Email ID in Gmail is not like yet another ID in Hotmail or Yahoo. Each Email ID has the “genealogy” information attached to it. Each Gmail ID is created out of an invite sent out by an existing Gmail ID. So it is almost impossible to disguise yourself before Google. Besides knowing who you are, Google also knows whom you are related to. For example Google knows that you are Ram, husband of Meena and friend of John.
Google even knows what you do out side Google to a certain extent. For example when you sign up for a new third-party service (with your Gmail ID), Google knows that you did so. They even keep track of the links you click in Emails and chat texts.
They are the best in the world for text parsing and analysing. And if we closely examine we can see that that makes the core of all their technologies. Google can even analyse your chat live. So think twice next time you chat with your friend on Google to discuss a new business idea or when you use Google Documents to type a new business plan. The point is that Google is a privacy bomb which can blow up any time either though a security breach or by the data mining bureaucrats of Washington.
Google, after handling trillions of queries from around the world by now, might have an interesting picture about the people in this world, I’m sure. Nobody has ever got a chance to see the world at such a macro level yet.