This extends beyond just websites too, including Android mobile phones and the Google Chrome web browser. It will also include Google partners and services that might not be immediately obvious and which might be used on any website, services like Google Analytics or DoubleClick. Your web browser might even be sending information to Google about every website that you visit.
While there are undoubtedly some benefits in this joined up thinking it is also a little spooky that any one organisation can know so much about you, they probably know more about you than some of your friends and colleagues. The ways in which this could go wrong are too numerous to list; you probably browse different subjects while you’re at work to while you’re at home, Google might end up recommending accountancy training seminars while you’re planning a debaucherous weekend in Amsterdam, or vice versa!
If you don’t want this level of tracking then Google say you can choose to not use their services or simply sign out. Unfortunately for the first suggestion, as with many of the other sudo-monopolies, Google have become a huge company because their products are good no matter how much you might want to hate them.
As for the second suggestion, studies have shown that even without any personal identifiers like a username, a person browsing the web can be fairly uniquely identified by the fingerprint that their computer produces. That combined with the information you’ll provide on various websites means they’ll still be able to tie all of your web activity uniquely to you.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this topic, whether it worries you, whether you welcome the ‘improved’ services and whether you plan to change your behaviour as a result of it. Please feel free to drop me a line in the comments down below…