Now for those of us that work in the digital space, we may react and question this move… on various fronts. We have to. It’s our job to be our industry’s system of checks and balances. For me, some of the initial reactions that came to mind are things like: “How much personalization is too much?” “Is all of this data (which, by the way, Google has always had…) now being used against us some sort of personal privacy violation?” or “That’s WAY too big-brother-ish!”
But then I started thinking… If I’m going to be honest with myself, I don’t really know what the previous 60+ privacy policies said that are out there today said. And yet, I must have accepted them considering I have multiple types of Google accounts.
And take the average internet user… are they really going to care? Or more specifically, are they really going to pay attention enough TO care? My opinion is “no”. Users are inundated with requests to accept a privacy policies on a daily basis. Each download performed online likely has one. Each social media account that they sign up for has one. Each shopping cart they create an account for has one. Creating a new email address? Yup! Has one. It’s the little annoying window that comes up asking if you agree, which if you’re like me, you treat with a certain level of annoyance as it is preventing me from getting on with the task at hand that could have been accomplished 5 seconds ago if I didn’t have to stop and click the “I agree” box. It’s almost become second nature to just agree.
To provide some data to back up the opinion, take the results of a new survey that Microsoft released on Tuesday of this week. According to PC Mag, “The survey of 5,000 individuals in the U.S., Germany, Ireland, Spain, and Canada revealed that 56 percent of adults and children do not actively think about how their online activities could impact their own reputation. Moreover, 62 percent do not consider how their online behaviors might affect others in the long-term.” If over 50% of people are not concerned with what they are directly posting online about THEMSELVES or their friends/relatives, they are likely not going to be concerned with what info companies are using to personalize their online experience. And don’t forget, to the user, the refined targeting that could result across Google properties due to the change, might actually provide a better user experience for some.
And to the industry folk out there… Aren’t you the least bit curious as to the advertising targeting refinements that could potentially come out of this move? I know I am… I’ll be the first to admit that I will jump on testing new targeting features should they become available, and I’m sure my clients will expect me to. So while in the open forums, it’s our responsibility to play the “good cop, bad cop” roles, and question new developments on the basis of ethics, usability, privacy, and other such criteria, I would venture to guess that secretly, I’m not the only one just a little bit curious as to what this may present from an advertising targeting opportunity.