Ars Technica’s Casey Johnston has started a fun new game: find out what Google guesses is your age and gender. These “inferred demographics” are based on the websites you visit and are tracked by a Google cookie; they are used for advertising purposes. Given Google’s controversial announcement Tuesday that users will not be able to opt out of new privacy changes, learning what the company thinks about you seems particularly useful, and informative.
The Google ad preference page shows my interests, which is actually evidence of my work plus the interests of the three teenage girls who also use my computer, often without changing to their own Google accounts. Then it guesses that I am male, age 24-34. Wrong on all counts. How is this useful to advertisers? These analytics are based on categorizing individuals based on the perceived behaviors of groups. In real life, we call that discrimination and try to teach our kids not to do it. Either way, there's a lot of room for error. How wrong are they about you? Link -via Metafilter