A lovers’ quarrel: Google and I (also, a lot of data).


Why yes I am Google – you remembered!

Two days ago I got on a plane in Halifax and landed in NYC. Three days ago I got this email:

Google Play

At first I was creeped out. About as creeped out as I was when I got my own “Happy Birthday” Google doodle. Then I remembered how much I get out of this little relationship Google and I are in. G gets information about me, gets to advertise to me, sell my profile for a higher rate than when I was an unknown — I get free email, access to Drive and Docs which have become integral to my work, and the confidence that my account *probably* won’t be compromised (or at least that a system is in place to catch it).

Next, I was impressed. Good job G, you payed attention last May when I got that email with my flight itinerary. It is always lovely to be thought of.

Impressed, but not convinced.

I did not open the email until today. “Play” made me think games, sorry G, I already have my “Flow Free” app. and it takes up more than enough of my time. When I opened the email I was a little surprised. All the suggested apps are London or Europe based.

G, how could you!? Don’t you know me at all? I live in the UK half the year, I am visiting the US. I’ve seen your maps, I know you know better!

It is a Bounty Bar when you know I hate coconut. To think, I was so pleased with you just a moment ago.

Point is, even with a lot of data (I am approaching 16 000 emails saved), even the best information digestion systems (yes, I am looking at you G), is far from perfect.

We worry a lot about our information being mis-used.

We might also want to think about being mis-represented by our data.


2 thoughts on “A lovers’ quarrel: Google and I (also, a lot of data).

  1. Q says:

    I guess this is little comfort for an Internet scholar who is conscious and alert about data mis-use, but perhaps the silver lining here is that algorithmic representation *is* inaccurate and therefore incapable of betraying us? Love the romantic metaphor in this post 🙂

  2. Elizabeth Dubois says:

    Thanks Q. I guess the problem is if we start to take it for granted as being correct despite being incorrect. Guilty until proven innocent style.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.