March 13, 2014

Google gets more personal as it becomes more personalized

Tilted Kilt
A long-ago activity resurfaces at a mouse click.

Will you be assimilated into the Google Empire?

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamGoogle can’t get hardly any of us to use Google Plus, but they’re still trying. And they’re pushing hard. One of the reasons I love blogging is, for good or evil, I don’t need any evidence for anything I say. With that caveat, Google is closing in on its goal of being federated across all of its properties, so be acutely aware. They’re triangulating us all and will soon be able to identify not merely what “you” want, need, and desire, but what you, yourself, (or me, Chris Abraham), want in particular, down to your very essence.

Rejoice! I am no longer 35–44-year-old white, college-educated, man, living in Metro Washington, I am 43-year-old, soon to be 44, Christopher James Abraham, who lives between Columbia Heights and Arlington Views off of Columbia Pike in South Arlington, Virginia, who owns guns, motorcycles, spends money on eBay and Amazon, and loves eating fish tacos at Taqueria el Poblano during his weekday happy hour from 4-7 pm — and many other very specific details of my life.

Rejoice! Soon all Google “organic” search results will be curated for my specific proclivities and all ads over all Google-associated and Google-partnered advertising networks, both online and offline, will be tailor-made, based on both my literal history of past searches, emails, subscriptions, and purchases but also based on a lot of cross-referencing that will try to predict my current, short-, medium-, and long term purchase and search decisions based on other close-similar users and algorithms that can now access petabytes, exabytes, zettabytes, and maybe even yottabytes real-time.

Identify yourself? With pleasure, Google Empire!

What does it mean? Well, I don’t care about my privacy, really, just my convenience. Then again, I am one of those guys who consider Minority Report to be more of a promise than a threat. I am one of those guys who grew up on the Well and the Meta Network, online communities that enforced real name anyway.

So, I am running full speed into the arms of Big Data to the extent that I recently gave up my Apple iPhone 5, a superior device, as my primary mobile device in favor of the new LG Google Nexus 5, a terribly flawed but Google-integrated smartphone.

Deep content that used to disappear into the recesses of search engines now appear as the first content to show up on top

I am sold on the Google Empire because they stalk me so good.

The problem with the iPhone, as far as I am concerned, is how balkanized the phone is. It’s like the US: there is a Nation-State, Apple iOS, but the true power lies in the States, the Apps. Google Android phones are ruled by a federated, unified, Google OS, Android, with the Apps being mere applications under Android, with many of the top useful apps on Android devices being fully integrated Google Apps.

In the last six months, Google has made a lot of progress bringing us all in from the cold: from YouTube, from Google Search, from Picasa, Gmail, Google Apps for Business, Android phones, Google Play, Google Maps, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Blogger, Google Hangout (née Google Talk), Orkut, and even Google Groups.

tilted Kilt

My friend asked me if I had ever been to the Tilted Kilt, a Hooters-like bar wherein the girls wear very revealing variations of the Scottish Kilt. I remember having been there years ago while in Atlanta. I searched “tilted kilt chris abraham” and the photos I had taken popped up in images, images that I believe I might have shared on Google+ years ago.

Until recently, these sorts of deep content had been disappeared and lock-boxed into the bellies of Google’s various properties for whatever reason (maybe to not freak people out, so that they felt more comfortable sharing on Plus without always ending up in search). Now, more and more of Google’s users’ content will be the first content to show up on top (as long as the content is set to public).

kilt

What’s more, Google has always been savvier than this. Google has always gamed serendipity by serving up search results that include the people who are in your Google network, be it in your Gmail Inbox, your Contacts, your Google+, Picasa, or through any connections.

My friends are always popping me notes saying how small the world is because how often they bump into my content when searching for information on social media, single-speed biking, digital PR, marketing, motorcycles, or firearms — yes, indeed, the world is small, but Google’s mad skills are making it (at least appear) smaller and smaller within your circle of friends and larger social networks. And, circa 2014, this will become even more refined and as close as real time as is “humanly” possible.

A world that perfectly reflects our hopes, wants, needs & passions

In many ways, the moment you step into an online world as curated by Google’s algorithms, you’re indeed entering a sim, stepping into a simulacrum of sorts, one of which Narcissus would be proud: the perfect reflection of your hopes, wants, needs, world-views, passions, and desires. We’ll all become the Kings of our online experience.

When Google buys applications, Web properties, new and cool websites, and all the rest, profiting directly from those acquisitions is not what they’re interested in, Google’s only interesting in heading you, as an online denizen, off at the pass. What they want is to flush all of us online grouse out of the bushes so that they can finally get a good bead on us. When Google finally gets us all locked in their sights, they’ll be able to finally identify each and every one of us all the way down to as close to our social security, passport, and drivers license numbers as possible.

And that’s an excellent thing if you’re willing and able to remain safely ensconced in the warm, soft, velvety embrace of the Matrix — like me — though I am not sure if this will reassure everyone as much as it does me.

And, since every action has a reaction, Google’s search engine algorithm has a profitable flaw: it tends to highlight and prioritize popular content. And, what content is generally most popular? Salacious gossip, embarrassing revelations, revealing photos, humiliations, and defamations. The dark side, of course, but also not Google’s problem: they just give the public what they want, just like anyone else — and if they didn’t someone else would — all the while running profitable inline, contextual, banner, pre-roll, and video ads. Good for me, too, as I am an Online Reputation Management professional consultant and expert, too, so all of this deep-digging through yottabytes of content spanning all of digital history is bound to make my phone ring off the hook from now on.

And all of this fun stuff is pinned to Google+.

As the saying goes, all roads lead to Rome. And Google’s Rome is Plus. Now that Google has us all hooked, they’re integrating all of these properties into the new Google+, whether or not you are currently a registered member. If you’ve invested in Google in any way, you’re a potential Plus member; and, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll just in feet-first. It’ll improve your participation everywhere else, trust me, starting with the world’s favorite site: YouTube. As you may know, Google’s changed access to YouTube commenting to prefer Google+ members.

Google’s almost completed their new roads project: all roads lead to Plus. Resistance is futile. Still fighting? This is quicksand, mate, stop struggling and just relax into Google’s vision for your media future, both online and off. It’s beyond your control. Enjoy!

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Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.