Over at Loose Wire Blog, Jeremy Wagstaff lists all the possible private information that Google may know about us as a result of their acquisition of Jaiku, the micro-blogging platform. It’s a significant list and one that gives us pause for concern. However it may say much about attitudinal shifts in values that users of online services of all kinds, are giving away information that was previously considered private.
Privacy is all about self-disclosure and the control of access of others to our inner-self. It’s very possible that many of us no longer consider our mobile phone number, address, or the suburb in which we live, private information. After all these pieces of information are relatively easy to find out. Maybe we’ve made the assessment and believe that the rewards outweigh the risks. Or perhaps the Internet has seduced us into believing that we are far safer and far more protected than we really are. I suspect that the answer is a combination of both.
It never ceases to amaze me to see how much private information people are willing to give away on social networking sites such as Facebook. With Google’s purchase of Jaiku, they have all the ingredients of a powerful social network, much more powerful in my opinion than the others. The combination of search, gmail, maps, and now Jaiku provide Google with a unique and incredibly deep, understanding of who we are, what we’re doing, what interests us, and what we’re planning. And if Google complete the DoubleClick deal, who knows, perhaps the machine will tell us that we need a new pair of sneakers before we had a chance to give it a thought.
Speaking of which, mine are getting a bit old.