Posted by: Chris Brew | December 17, 2009

I love it when people try to work out what I want

GigaOM (which I saw in a tweet from Matt) claims that Google is willing to do our searches without directly taking our money because it “takes its payments in a currency just as precious — user data — that helps advertisers target ads at readers”. This is obviously true, but misses some of the point. The user data can certainly be used to target ads, by working out which advertisers provide the service that the reader is looking for, but that is very far from the only use. It can also be used to (sometimes) work out what people really want. There may not yet be an advertiser willing or able to offer that thing, but maybe Google (or Bing, or someone) can invent a way to provide it. This gives you data-driven innovation before you’ve had the innovative idea. Would it be too much of a stretch to say that Google and the others are picking up on our inventive ideas and commercializing them before we even know that we have had them? It might be fun to get outraged about this, but I’m OK with people trying to work out what I really want. Just let me know, OK?

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