The Washington Post

‘Google thinks I am...’: Find out who Google guesses you are

All over the Web, thanks to Casey Johnston, a writer at Ars Technica, people are declaring what “Google thinks I am.”

In light of the privacy changes at Google, Johnston visited the Google Ads Preferences page, which shows how Google categorizes you to better target ads. It’s obviously not doing the best of jobs — I’m not a man regardless of what browser I use — hence Google’s privacy policy changes. The move will unify your identity across various properties online (from Gmail to YouTube) to get a fuller look at just who you are. All in the name of advertising.

The move has caused some furor among privacy advocates. Yet, almost all technology companies have similar tracking systems.

Slate found a number of other sites that collate your information. Yahoo nailed my age and my gender. It also pinpointed my location to my parent’s small California town — not Washington where I and my desktop sit.

BlueKai thinks I’m a male student making more than $100,000 a year. Bizo comes the closest. It pegs me as a Media & Internet Executive. That’s sort of accurate. Minus the executive part.

One noticeably absent compilation? Facebook. The social media company may have the most targeted analysis of you. Some studies speculate it can pinpoint your preferences based on what your friends like regardless of whether you contribute to the site.

Late last year, 24-year-old Austrian law student Max Schrems requested all of his personal data from Facebook. Facebook sent him 1,222 pages of data, according to tech blog Infosthetics.

But even with all the information Facebook has, it still doesn’t get everything right. A colleague posted to Facebook this morning, “If you’re running a Facebook ad targeting alums, spell the school’s name right. It just adds some credibility...”

The game has given people insight into how much — and how little the computer knows about you. So, who are you? (According to Google, at least.) Click here to find out.

Tweet #googlethinksiam Let us know on Twitter or in the comments who you are on Google.​

Here are a few of your responses:

Update: An earlier version of this story wrongly attributed the Infosthetics blog to Jess3. Both are cool companies. But they are separate ones. Apologies for the error!


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