Feb 2, 2012

Google Ad Preferences

Again and again my fellow library students and I hear that we're going into an unnecessary field because Google does our job for us. Well, that's not true.

According to Google's Ad Preferences, your interests are pigeonholed into categories, stored in a cookie and used to select ads that will appeal to you...aka make you click them and buy all of the things. Also, Google will infer from your interests your age and gender.

I checked it out and according to Google, my apparent searches in the categories of "Arts & Entertainment," "Beauty & Fitness - Body Art," "Food & Drink - Restaurants - Fast Food," and "Shopping - Apparel" make me an 18-24 year old man.  SUPER.  Not only am I a girl, but it is incredibly assumptive to believe that people falling into that seven year age range are similar enough to lump together.  That's like saying a 11 year old is the same as a 17 year old.  If you go to the ad preferences page, you can edit their assumptions, which is great, but I'm still a little wary of what they'll select for me.

Librarians don't make such assumptions because most of the time we see our patrons in person. We can figure out what a person wants by talking to them and asking questions, rather than pulling up an intricate log of past items looked at and deciding what's appropriate without user input.  Silly Google; you're a wonderful tool, but you still can't best librarians.

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