I wrecked my car the other day. I communicated that message, via email and chat, to several people. By the next day, adds for used car dealers and insurance agencies and attorneys popped up all over my Google account. It should have been creepy, but by this point I'm well-used to being monitored at all times.
But now, avoiding creepy email-dwelling robots will be easier than ever before. Thanks to...one of the chief proprietors of said creepy robots. Google has just announced a new extension: Keep My Opt Outs.
Many of the advertisers and trade groups that manage the various personalized ad programs offer an opt-out program of some sort. This new extension compiles all of them together, making it easier than ever to keep your computer cookie-free. Installing this will cause the relevance of your online ads to drop. But, unlike ad blockers, it won't deprive websites of crucial ad dollars.
There's an enormous amount of high-quality, free-to-read content available online. But those operations aren't kept alive through donations. Ad money fuels the free content that keeps you from getting bored on the train or fleeced by a clever Best Buy salesman. Keep My Opt Outs represents the biggest olive branch Google could possibly extend to those of you who still nurse privacy concerns.
Me? I'm convinced privacy isn't anything but a passing trend. We have bacterial cameras now. In twenty years, there'll be tiny microscopic cameras breeding in our ducts and latching themselves on to birds and insects. We'll get used to it eventually. Especially if it renders the prostate exam a thing of the past.