On Wednesday, Google unveiled
what it called "interest-based" advertising. In reality, what they really unveiled was behaviorally targeted ads. And that has some privacy advocates crying foul.
The "interest-based" ads will initially appear on YouTube and other Google partner sites.
Here's the reason behind the initiative; it's all about the dollar, naturally:
Our advertisers and publisher partners have been asking us for a long time to offer interest-based advertising. Advertisers need an efficient way to reach those who are most interested in their products and services. And publishers can generate more revenue when they connect advertisers to interested audiences.
It's obvious what will happen: Google will track your surfing habits, then offer up ads based on your browsing history. And that's what is worrying people like Simon Davies, head of Privacy International, who told the BBC
"Google might well hype their targeting system as a boon to pet owners, but the reality is that the service will track just about everything you do and everything you're interested in, no matter how personal or sensitive. "
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said
"This is a very serious development. I don't think the world's largest search engine should be in the business of profiling people."
The new ad structure is only in beta test, but some have noted the all-too-familiar complaint: why not make this opt-in rather than opt-out? Readers, what do you think?
Or rather, is it simply as Google said in reference to a lawsuit over Google's Street View: "Complete privacy does not exist."