Many times we think that whatever we do anything online is tracked, whether we text a friend, shop or book tickets, browse a website casually or upload a picture on FB, every day people leave their digital trails when they breeze through the internet. The fact that we are regularly being tracked online and even being sold on the internet isn’t shocking in 2021. Even if it should be.
Exploring data, searching about hot topics was made easy in 2006- when Google Trends was born, which is a powerful tool that lets us explore what is trending in real-time and in what country.
Just like if you type "SuperBowl" the search results would top for the United States and the timing is of course the week in which they are played- February 7-13, if you type "God" the search results would top for "Ghana" because Christianity there is largely preached among people among any other nations worldwide. Now Google may have made this tool for fun, for knowing which celebrity is in the headlines or what attire is suddenly fashionable, but it cannot be denied that now anyone can use this to know what people are exactly thinking in real-time and how to market it as a weapon for their business.
Google isn’t to know that God is popular down south, Superbowl is an unofficial holiday for the United States, or whether we are not popular anywhere? anyone can know this by simple knowledge, or by a simple survey. But the real power is that we are typing anything we think in the search engine named–Google.
It is true if you do not believe people share things with giant search engines more than they would to anyone. Things like “I hate my boss”, “I am drunk”, “why are there no cats on mars” are very popularly searched. A guy is divorced so he is drunk and playing solitaire, mothers searching, is my son a genius, a teenager going blue with hectic studies, he searches for anxiety, depression symptoms, elderly woman searching for recipes to bake cookies or pickles, searches everywhere, everytime.
This may sound like mundane things but think about important subjects like racism, the hashtag Black Lives Matter, white supremacy, and many many other subjects that relate to the election that inevitably gives power to someone who can control a country and by this our lives. The polls can be tampered with, the ballots too can be bribed, but the people’s real motives, where this rally has happened are accurately given away through search engines. How do you think Trump became the leader??
The revelation about human psychology will continue to come, not just election but Mental Illness, Sexual Abuse, Human Child Trafficking, Religion, Health, Advertising, Abortion, are all heavy topics and all gain power through this heavy dataset-Google. Data scientists do hunt every day with their data mining techniques the insights and what actually is the motive of a human, where exactly it is focused and, every source be it Facebook, any third party sites, through polls, google trends, etcetra.
It really does not have to be on the negative side though, as everything has two sides, so Google does and its searches, data scientists can easily glean information about where this covid cases are rising and where the vaccine should be distributed more, business will become more powerful as they will squeeze more consumers into it, for what it’s worth.
A difficult thing to do to guard against this as we cannot just time machine our way to live in the pre-historic era, we have evolved in an age where information is everything and technology is at its supreme, not to mention that the behaviours of consumers can be correlated to hundreds of things, traditionally a marketer only has 2-3 variables but now? They know better about your tastes then you do about yourself. One simple behaviour or action can be predicted to something that you do.
All in All, we cannot be too careful about digital datas, but we can at least install software, keep anti-virus open, and passwords hidden to spread our private information as little as possible. Lastly, you can install a Computer Cleaner Software that deletes your online trails from the Internet and keeps you alerted about any malware, which can be a nuisance to you in selling your private information.