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iGoogle - Are uWorried?

Posted on 4.30.2007

Google has taken the next step beyond their already popular personalized search, introducing iGoogle. In this installment, Google will provide a "Gadget Maker" giving users the ability to share their personal writings, photos and other creative efforts. If it sounds like MySpace or Facebook that's because it is - except centered around search, not socialization.

And then there is the storage of personal information. For those that sign up with a Google account, personal search information and geographic location can be collected and stored in order to return more personalized results based on a search query. Users are also able to go back, in some cases several years, and review their entire search history. Combined with your geographic location, Google knows where you are and what you're looking for. So, who else knows?

"At some point we will turn our attention to advertising," said Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president in charge of search and user experience. But stressed that iGoogle will remain non-commercial for the foreseeable future. It's conceivable that advertisers will not be the only ones prospecting personal data. All the evil-doers out there will be doing everything they can to get personal information. And what about government agencies? Will Big Brother decide to access this data in the future too?

For some, iGoogle will be a welcome addition - providing personalization and highly relevant search results. For others, and certainly conspiracy theorists, this is a red flag to run for the hills. Although it's important to remember that turning over your personal search history is voluntary - for now.

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