Lobbying exposing ninja Alex Sadleir made a comment on Google+ today demonstrating just how much Google knows about our interests. Curiously, I didn't get anything back.
Approaching the oracle... wait, bad choice of words
From http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/view/ in my Google account, on every machine I've tried it on:
You have opted out of Google's interest-based advertising. No interest categories are associated with your browser.
Google stores the following information in a cookie to associate your ads preferences with the browser you are currently using:
Opting out of this stuff sounds like something I'd do, but I don't remember doing it. I'm not sure which of the following reasons caused me to not have any information with them, but throwing them all out there as suggestions.
- Had DNT enabled in NoScript, then later in Firefox mainline
- Used TACO and Beef Taco for years
- Disabled personalised search when it was announced
- "Paused" my web history, whatever that means
- Deleted old messages from Gmail, relegated it to junk mail
- Employ userscripts like this to strip out tracking from links
Finally, it goes without saying that I don't use Google Chrome or Android, though I do use their Google Search app, Google Maps and on occasion YouTube on my iTelephone. Whoops ;).
Most likely these reasons are placebos and are merely evidence of my paranoia; Alex would be the first to point out this doesn't mean Google doesn't know anything about me. One could assume they do gather information, but they just don't make it public.
Either way, I'm impressed that Google at least acknowledges I don't want them following me... as much. Right?