farmhouseproject

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Saturday, 10 25th

Last updateSun, 25 Aug 2013 12am

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I had a Google+ account for a while, but now I don't. It was fun to test and I filed a lot of bugs, but I don't want to have an account there. I just don't want all my info in a fully indexed, conveniently subpoenable centralized database. For the same reason, I don't have a Facebook account, nor a Myspace. I like my Google in anonymous mode, or whatever passes for anonymous mode. Alas, Google+ requires a public profile, and with my real name on it, no less - I hope that Google+ remains optional. :( Anything I have to say I'll say here, and noone much will see it, and that will be fine. People who check here are much less likely to be interested in me because I work for Google anyway. Thanks for that. :)

Call me old fashioned, but I don't want to be target marketed so I've opted out of Google's targeted ads and opted out of their web-history. I did this a long time ago, and I make sure to check the Google Dashboard periodically. I've similarly opted out of another hundred or so other ad tracking networks using TrackerBlock from PrivacyChoice. It is to Google's great credit that they offer an easy way to make it known that you don't wish to have your usage data collected, aggregated, and analyzed. Surely, even knowing where to look to opt out of those other ad networks is not trivial.

Not only do I not want to be served ever more precisely targeted ads, I'd also like to avoid the filter bubble effect as much as is reasonable. I would not be well served if every search returned only things I already agreed with, or thought to be true. It is important to know that the earth is round, despite one's fervent current belief that it is flat. If every search is informed by the current biases of the searcher then it will be that much harder to break free of the echo chambers we create for ourselves. This effect will be compounded when Google knows your friends and their interests and can show you things that they thought were interesting.

I know I'm weird, and you probably think I'm making stupid monkey noises about nothing. Maybe I am. I still like Google quite a lot and I'm not going to quit or anything, but I don't have to love everything they do. I never used Orkut either and I bet noone thinks that is weird. :)