Is Google Listening when it shouldn’t?
Most apps ask to know your location. Why? Aside from weather or travel apps — what does it mean for a music or design app to know your exact location?
This is called personalization. Through ‘cookies, which have become a pain in the butt when you browse. In the very beginning, they were meant as digital footprints. You wanted to keep track of your own self somehow, digitally. Like, keep your browsing history handy for easy access next time.
Now they are a persistent bug. A real disturbance when browsing. An endless array of check-uncheck, accept-reject, personalize, and so on. So mundane and time-consuming.
What is happening in the background? In simple English, an algorithmic machine, learning from patterns (your online habits), takes over to make suggestions. For better or worse, this is always present unless you go off the hook — like a digital outcast.
Many writers on Medium report the same or similar kind of machine behavior happening in their digital sphere every day.
The thing is, some are quick to jump to conclusions, often oversimplifying things. They are tricked to believe that the surface of things they have merely scratched tells the truth. As if the peel of orange that you can smell were the same as eating the actual thing.
Here is where the two things, the orange and Google, meet. Once the real brain behind each takes over — either your natural, human brain, or the AI, machine-learning, Google brain, both start taking initiative:
You, on one hand, begin to determine whether you like the smell of the orange so you can savor the actual thing.
Google, on its part, engages in a million parameter more complex decision tree. It has to decide: Whether you (the human) actually like the fruit or not, if yes, where to buy it, and further down the line, what varieties of orange produce are available in the fresh market.
But the Google engine goes way further: Perhaps you, the human, like the color orange as well? Hence, it registers and displays you orange clothes, orange wristwatches and orange cars as you keep browsing.
Does this make sense, so far?